Naomi Beckwith

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Naomi Beckwith
Occupation Senior Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Naomi Beckwith (born 1976) is a senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Beckwith joined the curatorial staff in May 2011.[1]

Life and education[edit]

A native Chicagoan, Beckwith grew up in Hyde Park and attended Lincoln Park High School, going on to receive a BA in history from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.[2] She completed an MA with Distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, presenting her master's thesis on Adrian Piper and Carrie Mae Weems.[3]

Afterward, she was a Helena Rubenstein Critical Studies Fellow at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York. Beckwith was a fall 2008 grantee of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and was named the 2011 Leader to Watch by ArtTable.[4] She serves on the boards of the Laundromat Project (New York) and Res Artis (Amsterdam).[5][6]


Prior to joining the MCA staff, Beckwith was associate curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Preceding her tenure at the Studio Museum, Beckwith was the Whitney Lauder Curatorial Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, where she worked on numerous exhibitions including Locally Localized Gravity (2007), an exhibition and program of events presented by more than 100 artists whose practices are social, participatory, and communal.[7]

Beckwith has also been the BAMart project coordinator at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and a guest blogger for Art:21. She has curated and co-curated exhibitions at New York alternative spaces Recess Activities, Cuchifritos, and Artists Space.[8]

Key exhibitions[edit]

Beckwith curated the exhibition 30 Seconds off an Inch, which was presented by the Studio Museum in Harlem November 12, 2009 – March 14, 2010.[9] Exhibiting artworks by 42 artists of color or those inspired by black culture from more than 10 countries, the show asked viewers to think about ways in which social meaning is embedded formally within artworks.[10][11]

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Any Number of Preoccupations was on view at the Studio Museum November 11, 2010 – March 13, 2011. The exhibition marked British artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s first solo museum show with 24 canvases on display.[12]


  1. ^ “Naomi Beckwith Named Curator at MCA Chicago,” Press Release, April 2011, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago, accessed June 15, 2011,
  2. ^ Lauren Viera, “MCA appoints Naomi Beckwith its newest curator,” Chicago Tribune, April 12, 2011, accessed June 16, 2011,
  3. ^ “Curator: Naomi Beckwith,” Curate NYC, accessed June 16, 2011,
  4. ^ “Awarded Grants,” The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, accessed June 15, 2011,
  5. ^ “Board of Directors,” The Laundromat Project, accessed June 16, 2011,
  6. ^ “New Res Artis Board Members,” Res Artis, November 11, 2010, accessed June 15, 2011,
  7. ^ “Locally Localized Gravity,” Institute of Contemporary Art, accessed June 16, 2011,
  8. ^ “Naomi Beckwith Named Curator at MCA Chicago.”
  9. ^ “30 Seconds off an Inch,” Studio Museum Harlem, accessed June 14, 2011,
  10. ^ Roberta Smith, “A Beating Heart of Social Import,” New York Times, December 10, 2009, accessed June 14, 2011,
  11. ^ “30 Seconds off an Inch,” Press Release, October 20, 2009, Studio Museum Harlem, accessed June 16, 2011,
  12. ^ "Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Any Number of Preoccupations,” Studio Museum Harlem, accessed June 16, 2011,

External links[edit]