April 23, 2020

Trevor Schoonmaker to Lead Duke University's Nasher Museum


Trevor Schoonmaker.

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA—The Nasher Museum at Duke University, which is temporarily closed due to Covid-19, has appointed Trevor Schoonmaker, its current deputy director of curatorial affairs and curator of contemporary art, as its next director. He will take the helm from Sarah Schroth, who will retire on May 8 after twenty-five years with the university.

“Trevor is a star curator who has been instrumental in building the Nasher Museum’s contemporary art collection while establishing its reputation as one of the most respected and admired university art museums in the country,” said Duke University provost Sally Kornbluth. “A true visionary, Trevor embodies that rare combination of gifts: a brilliant mind, the ability to prioritize and focus and a propensity for unique ideas that are not only home runs, but are possible to execute leveraging the many talents of the Nasher staff.”

Schoonmaker joined the museum as its founding curator of contemporary art in 2006, one year after it opened its Rafael Viñoly–designed building on Duke’s central campus. He was promoted to chief curator in 2013 and has served as deputy director for the past two years. During his tenure, Schoonmaker has helped shape the museum’s collection strategy and curated numerous exhibitions including Naama Tsabar’s performance “Composition 21” (2019), John Akomfrah’s video installation “Precarity” (2018), “Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art” (2016) with Miranda Lash, and “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey” (2013).

Schoonmaker has also served as the artistic director of the New Orleans triennial “Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp” (2017–18), which showcased the work of seventy-three international artists across seventeen venues, and in 2001, he cofounded the Fela-inspired club night Jump N Funk with DJ Rich Medina.

Commenting on his new responsibilities, Schoonmaker said: “I’m very excited to have this opportunity to lead the Nasher Museum into the future. Our foundation is quite strong, thanks to the bold vision of our previous directors, Kim Rorschach and Sarah Schroth, and our talented and dedicated museum staff. . . .I welcome the challenge to take the Nasher Museum through this moment and to ascend to even greater heights. Together we will find new ways to enliven and inspire community through art.”

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