Strategic Vision


July 13 2020

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Art has always played a role in civic discourse, but in the current ecosystem of fast and dynamic changes, how can artists, curators, and creatives develop new approaches to envisioning our collective futures? 


It requires a keen eye and strategic vision to build artistic interventions that inspire the public and catalyze change. Nato Thompson has devoted his career to realizing such ambitious projects - through commissioned artworks, fairs, installations, and publications. His strategic use of art and curation centers on his belief that art reveals that the world is malleable - that there is room for change and growth. Over the last twenty years, Thompson has curated projects that address the global and the local, tackling structural inequality, racism, networks of solidarity, and revolution among other topics. He has helped to evolve conversations around how art operates in the world and has facilitated the political participation of artists, curators, and institutions in the greater public sphere. 

Presented By: The Author and Curator

Nato Thompson


Nato Thompson is an author and curator based in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. Since 2017 he has been the Sueyun and Gene Locks Artistic Director at Philadelphia Contemporary. Previously, he was the Artistic Director of New York-based public art organization Creative Time, where he organized major projects including Pedro Reyes’ Doomocracy (2016), Kara Walker’s A Subtlety (2014), Living as Form (2011), Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures (2012), Paul Ramírez Jonas’s Key to the City (2010), and Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007), among many others. Before Creative Time, Thompson was a curator at MASS MoCA, where he curated numerous large-scale exhibitions, including The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere (2004). In his capacity as a writer, Thompson has published two books of cultural criticism: Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century (2015) and Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life (2017), and one speculative fiction novel, Marshsong (2019).