BAHM | 2.18.18 | Naomi Beckwith
Naomi Beckwith is a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. She previously held a position as Associate Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, working under the leadership of Director Thelma Golden. Beckwith served as a Curatorial Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia and as a Helena Rubenstein Critical Studies Fellow at the Whitney Museum's Independent Study program. She holds a B.A. in History from Northwestern University and an M.A. with Distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.
Beckwith has curated a number of exhibitions that showcase the work of young emerging artists of color. In 2010, she curated Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Any Number of Preoccupations, at the Studio Museum. This was the first solo museum exhibition of the artist, who is considered one of the major breakout contemporary art stars in recent years.
In 2015, Beckwith curated The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now at the MCA Chicago. This exhibition sought to link the African American avant-garde of the 60' and 70s to contemporary art and culture. It was organized around two groups, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA), as well as the larger Black nationalist movement during and after the Civil Rights Era. The exhibition included the work of AACM-founder, pianist, and painter Muhal Richard Abrams; Art Ensemble of Chicago bandleader Roscoe Mitchell; AfriCOBRA cofounders Jeff Donaldson, Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu, and Gerald Williams; and contemporary artists, Terry Adkins, Nick Cave, Rashid Johnson, Renée Green, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Cauleen Smith, and Stan Douglas.