Director & Chief Curator
Bonnie Clearwater joined NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale as Director and Chief Curator in September 2013. An influential leader who played a major role in Miami’s emergence and development as an international arts center, she is widely recognized for her curatorial vision, scholarship and record in administration, public education and community outreach. Ms. Clearwater spearheaded an exciting phase of transformation at NSU Art Museum that includes an overall rebranding and expansion of the museum’s reach locally, nationally and internationally. Her initiatives include the development of a world-class exhibition program, expansion of the museum’s education initiatives and public programming, and increased engagement with diverse audiences.
Known for her ability to identify and nurture emerging artists, over the past two decades, she presented the first U.S. solo museum exhibitions for some of today’s most significant artists including: Daniel Arsham, Hernan Bas, Tracey Emin, Teresita Fernandez, Mark Handforth, Jonathan Meese, Albert Oehlen, Matthew Ritchie and Shinique Smith. She also curated historically important solo exhibitions of artists David Smith, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Artschwager, Malcolm Morley, Jack Pierson and Helen Frankenthaler, in addition to groundbreaking thematic exhibitions.
Recognized for her experience in museum education, Ms. Clearwater guides NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale’s education program, in which students of all ages are inspired by direct access to the museum’s exhibitions, collection and professional staff.
Ms. Clearwater has written extensively on Modern and contemporary art and is a respected scholar of Mark Rothko. She is the author of The Rothko Book (Tate Publishing/Abrams) and Mark Rothko: Works on Paper, (Hudson Hills). Other publications include: Tracey Emin: Angel Without You (contributing writer) (Rizzoli); Edward Ruscha: Words Without Thoughts Never to Heaven Go, (Abrams); Roy Lichtenstein: Inside/Outside and Frank Stella at 2000: Changing the Rules (both for MOCA, North Miami); editor/contributing author of West Coast Duchamp (Grassfield Press) and Ana Mendieta: A Book of Works (Grassfield Press), among other titles.
From 1997 – 2013, she was the Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami where she developed an internationally renowned exhibition program and guided the museum’s education program. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of the Lannan Foundation Art Programs in Los Angeles and Director of the Lannan Museum in Lake Worth, Florida. She served as Curator of The Mark Rothko Foundation in New York and concurrently was Curator of the Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Collection also in New York. She also served as Curator of the Peter Norton Family collection.
She has an M.A. in art history from Columbia University and a B.A. in art history from New York University.