Lipsticktracez is pleased to present a feature with curator and art historian Bonnie Clearwater. Bonnie has been writing about art and presenting contemporary art exhibitions for many years. She has worked with the Rothko Foundation, private collectors, is the former Director of the Lannan Foundation in Los Angeles and Museum, and current Director of MOCA, North Miami. Lured to Miami in 1990 by collector /Developer Craig Robins who was trying to stimulate the contemporary art scene, she is part of the burgeoning international cultural mecca Miami has become. Now home to fashionable hotels and people, the de la Cruz Collection, the Rubell Collection, MOCA and Art Basel Miami is a must stop visit for many European, American and South American collectors.
What is the emerging art scene like in Miami?
Throughout my career I have focused on emerging and under-recognized artists. Even before Art Basel Miami premiered in 2001 there was a strong multi-generational artist community here. MOCA grew out of the Center of Contemporary Art, which had focused attention on South Florida artists since 1980. When I became Chief Curator in 1994, I continued presenting amazing artists living in the area alongside international artists. For instance, in 1995 I presented the first solo museum exhibition for Teresita Fernandez, who was among the first young Miami artists to subsequently achieve world-wide acclaim. We opened our Joan Lehman Building in February 1996 with an exhibition I organized “Defining the Nineties: Consensus-making in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles” which presented a strong showing of Miami artists along with Matthew Barney, Janine Antoni, Jason Rhoades, Damien Hirst, and many others. Mark Handforth was the first Miami artist to have a solo museum show in the new building and we continued this great tradition of seeking out local artists to this day. I am organizing Handforth’s mid-career survey to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach this year.