“Naomi Beckwith”

Naomi Beckwith, a curator to watch

At barely 41 years old, Naomi Beckwith is an African-American curator who is taking the other side of the Atlantic by storm thanks to her refreshing, all-embracing vision of today’s art. In Chicago, an interview with a woman whose social awareness underlines her inspiring take on her profession.   When the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago recently celebrated its 50th year, Naomi Beckwith was part of the team that organised its three-part “We are Here” birthday exhibition. A jury member of the 2015 Venice Biennale, this young curator at the MCA Chicago since 2011 is the inaugural winner of the VIA Art Fund Curatorial Fellowship grant, aimed at promoting promising artistic projects. And let’s not forget that in March 2017, she chaired the first curatorial leadership summit at New York’s Armory Show. An opportunity for AMA to shed light on her current role at the MCA and to discover her singular perspective on curatorship.   Naomi Beckwith, what did you do before becoming curator at the MCA Chicago? I was in New York, at the Studio Museum in Harlem. I managed the artist-residency programme and I worked on cultural projects relating to African-American identity, aesthetic minorities, but also current practices on a global scale.   The MCA Chicago is considered to be one of the most influential museums in the United States, with an extensive “historic” collection of contemporary art, ever since its creation in 1967.  What were your goals when you arrived there in 2011? I was coming home so to speak, because I was born and raised in the Windy City! I wanted to develop solo shows with established artists, but above all, to set up exhibitions on young emerging artists who have never been shown. But my current exhibition, “Howardena Pindell: What remains to be...

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Naomi Beckwith nominated at Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago

Chicago, 14 April 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). Naomi Beckwith, currently assistant curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, is about to become a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago.  The head curator at the James W. Alsdorf Museum  announced her appointment. At the Studio Museum in Harlem, Naomi Beckwith emphasized themes of identity, conceptual practices of Contemporary Art, African artists and of management of the artist’s residences programme.  She will take on her new responsibilities at the MCA from 11 May 2011. Beckwith was born in Chicago and will organize the future international programme of the Museum on visual arts and show business.  She obtained her Master’s degree cum laude from Courtauld Institute of Art in London and a BA in History from the Northwestern University in Illinois. She previously curated “Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Any Number of Pre occupations” (2010-11) and “ Zwelethu Mthethwa : Inner Views”(2010), two exhibitions on international artist, as well as in “Zwelethu Mthethwa : Inner Views”(2010), a major group exhibition,  an irreverent and playful exploration of the way artists relate to black culture, history and identity. From 2005 to 2007, she worked at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia on avant-garde exhibitions such as “Locally Localized Gravity” (2007).  She also coordinated the BAMart Project at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, worked as a critic at the Witney Museum of American Art and as a guest blogger on Art21.   In addition, she organized exhibitions at alternative New York spaces such as Recess Activities, Cuchifritos as well as at the Artists...

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