Nato Thompson is an author, curator, and what he describes as “cultural infrastructure builder”. He has worked as Artistic Director at Philadelphia Contemporary, Creative Time, and MASS MoCA. Thompson organized major Creative Time projects including The Creative Time Summit, Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety”, Trevor Paglen’s “The Last Pictures”, and Paul Ramírez Jonas’s “Key to the City”, among many others. Nato Thompson was the Artistic Director of Philadelphia Contemporary, an “independent and free-standing, a venue that celebrates the abundance of genre-bending, multidisciplinary practices that make up the field of contemporary art” founded in 2016. He was previously the Chief Curator and then Artistic Director at Creative Time in New York, where his exhibitions and projects included Paul Chan’s production of “Waiting for Godot” in post-Katrina New Orleans, which included free public performances of Samuel Beckett’s play, theatre workships, educational seminars, and more. Other major projects at Creative Time included Kara Walker’s A Subtlety, and the itinerant Creative Time Summits.
Thompson began his career as a curator at MASS MoCA, where he completed numerous large-scale exhibitions such as The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere, a survey of political art of the 1990s. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including Art Journal, Parkett, Cabinet, and The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. He is the author of several books and catalogues, including Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century (2015) and Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life.
Nato Thompson earned an MA in Arts Administration & Policy in 2001, and also holds a BA in Political Theory from the University of California at Berkeley.
He has written two books,
Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the Twenty-first Century. and Culture as Weapon founded the Alternative Art School and ArtW rld in 2020.