The fourth iteration of Prospect New Orleans’ international contemporary art triennial, Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, closed in February of 2018 after four months of record-breaking attendance by over 100,000 visitors. Prospect New Orleans Executive Director Nick Stillman and the Board of Trustees recently announced that Naima J. Keith, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the California African American Museum (CAAM), and Los Angeles-based independent curator Diana Nawi will co-curate Prospect 5, which is slated to open in the fall of 2020.
“I’m honored to work with Naima and Diana to build on Prospect’s past successes to create a significant global exhibition rooted firmly within the context of the city of New Orleans,” said Stillman. “This marks the 10-year anniversary since the initial Prospect exhibition, a huge accomplishment. Large-scale, place-based, recurring exhibitions like Prospect amplify culturally significant places like New Orleans. Naima and Diana are thoughtful and daring curators with an exciting rapport and history of working together. I couldn’t think of better partners to create the Prospect 5 exhibition.”
Stillman, former President & CEO of the Arts Council of New Orleans, was appointed as Executive Director of Prospect New Orleans at the close of Prospect.4, succeeding Interim Director Ylva Rouse.
Keith and Nawi are both based in Los Angeles and have a longstanding collaborative relationship; most recently Nawi organized the exhibition Adler Guerrier: Conditions and Forms for blck Longevity (2018) at the California African American Museum.
“Naima and Diana are established curators with unique perspectives on New Orleans and its many historical and cultural connections to the Global South,” said Chris Alfieri, Prospect New Orleans President and Board Chair. “Collaboration has been the model for Prospect since it began, so it’s no surprise that we have chosen dual artistic directors who bring diverse backgrounds and viewpoints to their curatorial partnership. We are eager to bring their collective vision for Prospect 5 and New Orleans to the world in 2020.”
In her role at CAAM, Keith organizes exhibitions and builds the collection, as well as guides the curatorial and education departments, and marketing and communications. Prior to joining CAAM in 2016, she was Associate Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Recent exhibitions include Nicole Miller: Athens, California (2018), Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle: The Evanesced (2017), Genevieve Gaignard: Smell the Roses (2016), Rodney McMillian: Views of Main Street (2016), Artists in Residence 2014–2015 (2015), Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound (2015), Titus Kaphar (2014), Glenn Kaino (2014), Robert Pruitt (2013), The Shadows Took Shape (co-curated with Zoe Whitley, 2013), and Fore (co-curated with Lauren Haynes and Thomas J. Lax, 2012). Her historical survey, Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974–1989 (2014), traveled to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles spring 2015 and was nominated in 2014 for a “Best Monographic Museum Show in New York” award by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA-USA). She has lectured at the Zoma Contemporary Art Center, Columbia University, The Museum of Modern Art, LACMA, USC, MCA Denver, and Brooklyn Museum. Her essays have been featured in publications for The Studio Museum in Harlem, Hammer Museum, Pérez Art Museum Miami, LAXART, MoMA PS1, and NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art. Keith holds degrees from Spelman College and UCLA and is a proud native of Los Angeles. She is the 2018 ArtTable New Leadership Awardee and the 2017 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize in recognition of her contributions to the field of African American art history.
“Following the successes of the first four instalments of Prospect New Orleans, I am honored to be invited to serve as co-Artistic Director of Prospect 5. I am thrilled to embark on the journey of engaging the magnificent people and city of New Orleans, as well as visitors to New Orleans from across the country and around the world.”
Prior to her work as an independent curator, Nawi was Associate Curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) for five years, where she organized major survey exhibitions and published accompanying catalogues including John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night (2017), which is traveling to the National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, and the American Folk Art Museum, New York; Nari Ward: Sun Splashed (2015), which traveled to the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, and the Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston; and Adler Guerrier: Formulating a Plot (2014). She also organized projects including Haroon Mirza: A C I D G E S T (2017), John Akomfrah: Tropikos (2017), Matthew Ronay: When Two Are in One (2016), SUPERFLEX: Kwassa Kwassa (2016), Iman Issa: Heritage Studies (2015), Shana Lutker: Again Against, A Foot, A Back, A Wall (2015), Nicole Cherubini: 500 (2014), Yael Bartana: Inferno (2013), Bouchra Khalili: Speeches – Chapter 3: Living Labour (2013), and LOS JAICHACKERS: Night Shade/ Solanaceae (Julio César Morales and Eamon Ore-Giron; 2013). Prior to joining PAMM, Nawi worked as an assistant curator on the Abu Dhabi Project of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and served as a fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams. Nawi’s writing has appeared in publications for the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Marrakech Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Museum Villa Stuck, National Gallery of Jamaica, New Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Studio Museum in Harlem, among others. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her masters from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
“I am delighted to be collaborating on this esteemed project as it continues to grow and evolve alongside this dynamic city. I look forward to engaging with the rich and complex specificity of New Orleans as we work with artists to research and develop new projects and collectively consider this critical moment.”
Prospect 5 will open in the fall of 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.