Director and Chief Curator
NSU Museum of Art I Fort Lauderdale
Bonnie Clearwater became Director and Chief Curator of NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale in September 2013. She was formerly the Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), North Miami. During her 18-year tenure at MOCA, it became internationally recognized as a force in defining new trends and directions in contemporary art through its innovative, original exhibitions and programs.
Ms. Clearwater has presented the first major U.S. solo museum exhibition for some of today’s most significant artists including Tracey Emin, Albert Oehlen, Jonathan Meese, Matthew Ritchie, Mark Handforth, Hernan Bas, Daniel Arsham, Teresita Fernandez, Shinique Smith and Ceal Floyer. She has also curated historically important exhibitions of works by David Smith, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Artschwager, Malcolm Morley, Jack Pierson and Helen Frankenthaler as well as groundbreaking thematic exhibitions that examine issues crucial to contemporary practice.
She was instrumental in launching MOCA’s permanent collection, which reflects significant artistic developments in contemporary art by emerging and established artists from the U.S. and abroad. She developed MOCA’s innovative education program that engages over 20,000 children, teens and adults annually and was recognized at the White House with the National Medal for Museum and Library Services.
Ms. Clearwater has written extensively on Modern and contemporary art. She is a contributing author of the book, Tracey Emin: Angel Without You (Rizzoli, November 2013). She is the author of The Rothko Book (Tate Publishing, 2006/Abrams, 2007) and was the author of the book Mark Rothko: Works on Paper (Hudson Hills, 1984, also published in German and French editions). She also is the author of Edward Ruscha: Words Without Thoughts Never to Heaven Go (Abrams) and Roy Lichtenstein: Inside/Outside, Frank Stella at 2000: Changing the Rules (both for the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami) and is the editor and contributing author of West Coast Duchamp (Grassfield Press) and Ana Mendieta: A Book of Works. She has written numerous exhibition catalogues and is a sought after essayist and speaker.
Prior to her position at MOCA North Miami, Bonnie Clearwater was the Executive Director of the Lannan Foundation Art Programs in Los Angeles and Director of the Lannan Museum in Lake Worth, Florida. She was the Curator of The Mark Rothko Foundation in New York and concurrently was the Curator of the Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Collection also in New York. She also served as curator of the Peter Norton Family collection. She served as an advisor to the 2002 Whitney Biennial, a 2012 juror of the Heinz award, a juror for the Lucilla Award, National Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 2002, and Advisor for the Altoids Collection, 2002. She is the 2003 recipient of the American Red Cross Spectrum Award for Women, Cultural Award. Ms. Clearwater received her M.A. in art history from Columbia University and a B.A. in art history from New York University.