Seattle Art Fair Appoints Nato Thompson Artistic Director of its Fourth Edition

Renowned Curator of Public Art Takes Reins of Fair’s Programming and Talks

(Seattle, WA — February 15, 2018) — Seattle Art Fair, presented by AIG, is pleased to announce Nato Thompson as the Artistic Director for the fourth edition of the fair, this August 2-5, 2018. Thompson is currently the Artistic Director of Philadelphia Contemporary and has a robust curatorial background that includes a decade-long tenure overseeing iconic projects at Creative Time, from Kara Walker’s A Subtlety (2014) to Pedro Reyes’s Doomocracy (2016).



“The Pacific Northwest has long been an incubator for fascinating cultural projects,” said Nato Thompson, Artistic Director of Seattle Art Fair. “I’m excited to collaborate with the Seattle Art Fair to curate interdisciplinary and engaging on-site projects that speak not only to an art audience, but the wider community in which they’re situated.”

Thompson will be in charge of curating site-specific installations by world-renowned artists, and tapping leading cultural figures for talks and panels. Thompson is a critical academic voice, publishing best-selling books of criticism including Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life, and Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century.

“The role of the Seattle Art Fair’s Artistic Director helps maximize the potential of the fair as a platform to see and experience art,” said Seattle Art Fair Director Max Fishko. “Nato’s unique experience with presenting major public art projects will bring an added layer of connectivity and interaction this year.”

The addition of Thompson to the fair is another milestone in a tremendous year of growth, which saw record-breaking numbers of visitors and exhibitors this past year.

“Bringing on Nato is a great decision,” said Robert Goff, Director of David Zwirner, and a member of the Seattle Art Fair Dealer Committee. “His appointment as Artistic Director reflects Seattle Art Fair’s commitment to collaboration and cultural dialogue that extends beyond the fair itself.”

The Seattle Art Fair offers residents and visitors a slate of events, talks, and cultural programming, as well as a chance to peruse cutting-edge contemporary art from over 100 local and international exhibitors. Past fairs have included talks from Kim Gordon and Carrie Brownstein, and public artwork from artists such as Nancy Rubins and Glenn Kaino.


Nato Thompson is a curator, author, and, as of 2017, the Artistic Director at Philadelphia Contemporary. Philadelphia Contemporary is a mobile contemporary art organization in the process of creating a non-collecting museum in the city of Philadelphia. Previous to Philadelphia Contemporary, he worked at the New York-based public art organization Creative Time as Artistic Director which he joined in January 2007. Since then, Thompson has organized such major Creative Time projects as The Creative Time Summit (2009–2015), 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), Jeremy Deller’s It is What it is (2009, with New Museum curators Laura Hoptman and Amy Mackie), Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), and Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007), among others. Previously, he worked as Curator at MASS MoCA, where he completed numerous large-scale exhibitions, including The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere (2004), with a catalogue distributed by MIT Press. He has written 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 published in January 2017.


The Seattle Art Fair, presented by AIG, is a one-of-a-kind destination for the best in modern and contemporary art and a showcase for the vibrant arts community of the Pacific Northwest. Based in Seattle, a city as renowned for its natural beauty as its cultural landscape, the fair brings together the region’s strong collector base; local, national, and international galleries; area museums and institutions; and an array of innovative public programming. Founded in 2015 by Paul G. Allen, the Seattle Art Fair is produced by Vulcan Arts + Entertainment and Art Market Productions.


Marcella Zimmermann
Vice President, Cultural Counsel [email protected]

Ali Rigo
Account Executive, Cultural Counsel [email protected]

Seattle Art Fair Appoints Nato Thompson Artistic Director of its Fourth Edition

February 15, 2018