BAHM | 2.6.18 | Naima Keith
Naima Keith is an LA-native curator who, in 2016, joined the California African American Museum (CAAM) as Deputy Director and Chief Curator. She previously served as an Associate Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem and before that, as a Curatorial Fellow at the Hammer Museum.
At CAAM she has curated two exhibitions of emerging California artists, Genevieve Gaignard: Smell the Roses (2016) and Kenyatta Hinkle: The Evanesced (2017). In the 2016 exhibition, Hank Willis Thomas: Black Righteous Space, guests are invited to speak into a microphone, illuminated by a large screen with red, green, and black patterns and shapes changing to the fluctuations of their voice. This is just one example of Keith's commitment to introducing innovative installations and major contemporary artists to the Museum.
During her time at the Studio Museum, she curated a number of exhibitions, most notably, Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974–1989 in 2014, the first historical survey of the artist. The exhibition was awarded "Best Monographic Museum Show in New York" award by the International Association of Art Critics and travelled to the Hammer Museum. She also curated Rodney McMillian: Views of Main Street in 2016, another pioneering LA-based artist. While at the Hammer, she worked closely with Dr. Kellie Jones, guest curator, on the exhibition Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980.
Keith has lectured at Columbia University, LACMA, The Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum among others. Her essays have been included in publications for the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Hammer Museum, MoMA PS1, and NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art. In 2017 she was awarded the Driskell Prize, by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.