Nasher Curator Trevor Schoonmaker Appointed Artistic Director of Prospect.4

Trevor Schoonmaker. Photo by Hank Willis Thomas.

Prospect.3, New Orleans’s third international art festival, may not complete its run until the end of the weekend, but the organization has already pegged Trevor Schoonmaker of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, to serve as artistic director of the upcoming 2017 edition.

Schoonmaker joined the Nasher in 2006 as its founding curator of contemporary art, and was promoted to chief curator in September of 2013. Among the exhibitions he has organized there are “Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool” (2008) and the traveling exhibition “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey” (2013–14).

The 44-year-old curator will work with the triennial’s previously announced theme, a celebration of the tricentennial of New Orleans, which was founded in 1718. He told the Times-Picayune that he hasn’t yet “wrapped his head around” around the show’s concept, but that “discovery, conquest, and engagement with the Caribbean” are among the issues he expects to explore.

While a list of participating artists won’t be released any time soon, Schoonmaker is looking for a mix of established and emerging artists, and hopes to exhibit work created specifically for Prospect.4. “The magic happens when the curator has the confidence in the artist to produce something exciting and new,” he added.

Schoonmaker plans to continue Prospect’s tradition of using unconventional venues. In the current edition, for example, a gun buy-back was hosted at an Eighth Ward gas station. He already has his eye on the city’s old Saenger Theater movie palace.

Prospect.3 is on view through January 25 (see Prospect.3 Trains Its Eye Provocatively on the Art World’s Social Failings).

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