By Greg Carannante
City & Shore Magazine
A retrospective of Bonnie Clearwater’s art-world wayfaring would extend from New York and Los Angeles to South Florida, where she helped to cultivate Miami’s emergence as an international arts center and, most recently, spearheaded the transformation of NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.
After becoming director and chief curator six years ago, she’s overseen a major rebranding of the former Museum of Art and an expansion of the museum’s local, national and international reach. Recognized for her vision as a curator, her scholarship and her achievements in public education and community outreach, Clearwater has developed a world-class exhibition program in Fort Lauderdale while growing the museum’s education initiatives and public programming.
Before taking the reins at NSU Art Museum, Clearwater was executive director and chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, where over 16 years she developed an internationally renowned program. Over the past two decades, she’s presented U.S. solo museum debuts for some of today’s most significant artists and curated important solo exhibitions of such major names as Frank Stella and Roy Lichtenstein. The recently opened Happy! embellishes her catalog of groundbreaking thematic exhibitions.
As she prepares this month’s opening of another curatorial accomplishment, a major exhibition on surrealism in Latin America, the Miami Beach resident took a moment to answer our standard set of Quote Unquote questions.
Aside from the weather, what do you enjoy most about South Florida?
Aside from the weather, what do you dislike most about South Florida?
Are you a beach person or a pool person?
Definitely a pool person. I swim laps for 50 minutes several times a week.
When in your life are you or have you been the happiest?
All the time.
What do you do when you’re stuck in a traffic jam on I-95?
Listen to the WDNA jazz station or NPR. The Beach station is good for traffic jams.
What music are you listening to now?
My tastes are eclectic.
Are you a fan, and if so, of what?
What are your social media handles?
Who is your real-life hero or heroine?
Local artist, collector and philanthropist Francie Bishop Good.
If you had to choose: Rocky or Raging Bull?
What car are you driving now?
A Honda CR-V.
What places in South Florida do you recommend to guests visiting from out-of-town? Museums, the Everglades, Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would be taller.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being part of South Florida’s burgeoning art scene.
PHOTO: Bonnie Clearwater, director and chief curator of NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. (Courtesy)