Born in New York, March 25, 1922
Attended Stuyvesant High School, N.Y. 1934-38
Academic degrees: B.A. from the City College of New York (1942), majoring in Mathematics and Art. Studied painting with Rufino Tamayo at the Brooklyn Museum, 1946, 1947. M.A. degree in Cultural Anthropology from Goddard College, 1977.
Thesis title: “A Museum as a Focal Point in Acculturation: The Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress Employment”
Lived and painted in Mexico 1947-1950. taught at the Irma Jonas School of Painting in Ajijic, summers only.
One-Man exhibition of paintings, Ganso Gallery, New York, 1953
One-Man shows at Peridot Gallery, New York, 1955, ’57, ’60, ’64, ’70
Worked as designer at Tiber Press, New York, 1955-1970
Assistant to the Curator at the Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress, Agats, Irian Jaya, Indonesia, 1973-’83
Assistant Curator for the exhibition, “Asmat: life with the Ancestors,” Hofheim, Germany, 1981.
Curated the Asmat half of the exhibition, “People of the River, People of the Tree,” Organized by the Minnesota Museum of Art at the Landmark Center Galleries, Saint Paul, MN, 1989.
Curated the exhibition, “Embodied Spirits: ritual Carvings of the Asmat” at the Peabody Museum of Salem, 1990.
This exhibition later traveled to the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena in March of ’92, and then to the Bell Museum, Minneapolis, 1992.
Lecturer on Anthropology and the Art of the peoples of Melanesia and Indonesia on various ships in the Pacific and in Indonesia, 1973-2000.
Program Director for 29 Asmat men and women who came to the United States to demonstrate carving and to the Field Museum, and in New Orleans, 1990.
Lecturer in Primitive Art at the New School for Social Research, part-time, 1985-’91.
Lecturer part-time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994-’95
Curated an exhibition of Asmat ancestor shields for The American Federation of Arts, 1994-’95
SECRET PLACES: My life in New York and New Guinea, University of Wisconsin Press, 2000 (reviewed in The Nation, Fall of 2000)
Wild Man, Viking Press, 1979 and reissue by iUniverse, 2001
Keep the River on Your Right, Grove Press, 1969
Where the Spirits Dwell, Grove Press, 1989
Asmat Images, The Asmat Museum of Culture & Progress, 1985
Embodied Spirits, Peabody Museum of Salem, 1990
Contributed essay to People of the River, People of the Tree, catalogue of an exhibition at the Minnesota Museum of Art, 1989.
Fellowships and Awards:
Ingram Merrill Foundation Award, 1982 and 1990
Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at Bellagio, 1985
Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, 1986
JDR 3rd Fund grant, 1975 and 1985
CAPS grant, 1974
Fulbright Fellowship to Peru, 1955-’56
Many residencies at Yaddo, Briarcombe, Ucross, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ossabaw Island, Djerassi Foundation
Most recently he was the subject of the documentary film titled Keep the River on Your Right, A Modern Cannibal Tale, Lifer Films, 2000.
Also a number of major profiles and interviews with Schneebaum appeared in 2001: New York Times Magazine article in March of 2001. Artnews article, Spring 2001 Interviewed by Allan Gurganus in BOMB magazine, Spring 2001.