MCA Curator Naomi Beckwith’s Favorite Things

ART SMART: The Hyde Park native picks shows us 20 items she loves

Naomi Beckwith

“It wasn’t a hard sell,” says Naomi Beckwith of her decision, just over a year ago, to leave her curatorial post at The Studio Museum in Harlem to come to the Museum of Contemporary Art. Beckwith, 36, was born and raised in Hyde Park. And some of her first encounters with art were at the MCA, where, as a Northwestern University student, she wrote exhibit reviews and frequented culture-themed parties.

In order to wrangle shows such as Jimmy Robert Vis-à-vis, an exhibition opening in August of the artist’s photo, video, and film work, Beckwith regularly scours London, Paris, and other global art capitals. “When you’re traveling, there’s so much visual fodder,” she says.

Her open-plan apartment in Old Town is filled with souvenirs, art, and family heirlooms—all of which say something about where she’s been and what inspires her. See below for twenty things she loves.

 

 

20 Things Naomi Beckwith Loves

STEPHEN BURKS LAMP

STEPHEN BURKS LAMP (Price on request, readymadeprojects.com)
“Burks seamlessly melds modern shapes with handcrafted details.”

 

 

CULTURE IN ACTION BY JACOB, BRENSON, AND OLSON

CULTURE IN ACTION BY JACOB, BRENSON, AND OLSON
“This book documents a project that I was involved in during high school. It was my introduction to art as a participant.”

 

 

Kumquats

KUMQUATS
“They’re the perfect finger food—sweet on the outside and refreshingly sour inside.”

 

 

STELLA McCARTNEY JACKET

STELLA McCARTNEY JACKET ($1,595, stellamccartney.com)
“I’m partial to McCartney’s suits because they’re fun yet well tailored.”

 

 

LOUISE BOURGEOIS PRINT

LOUISE BOURGEOIS PRINT
“The very first work I collected. Bourgeois really shaped my mentor Mignon Nixon’s thinking—and mine.”

 

Photography: (lamp, book, jacket) Courtesy of vendors; (all others) Anna Knott

 


FERRAGAMO HEELS

FERRAGAMO HEELS (from $595 for similar style, Salvatore Ferragamo, 645 N. Michigan Ave.)
“I believe in shoes with structure—an understanding of the foot.”

 

 

KIEHL’S MIDNIGHT RECOVERY CONCENTRATE

KIEHL’S MIDNIGHT RECOVERY CONCENTRATE ($44 for 1 oz., Kiehl’s, 907 W. Armitage Ave.)
“I use this rich serum night and day. It’s like applying vitamins to the face.”

 

 

SOUVENIR STILL LIFE

SOUVENIR STILL LIFE
“I spend my day with highly valuable objects. These quirky, teeny things hold memories and keep me grounded.”

 

 

'Visionaire'

VISIONAIRE ($250 for issue 53, visionaireworld.com)
“I’m enamored of this fashion and art publication, which constantly reinvents itself and rarely comes in magazine form. This ‘issue’ was an album and record player.”

 

 

ART DECO RING

ART DECO RING
“My grandmother offered this diamond, sapphire, and platinum ring as a parting gift before she departs.”

 

Photography: (Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate) Courtesy of vendor; (all others) Anna Knott

 

KID ROBOT BENCH

KID ROBOT BENCH (kidrobot.com)
“When the apartment was feeling too ‘80s and comfortable, the only thing that could jar it was the pop-iness of this piece.”

 

 

VINTAGE ETON JACKET

VINTAGE ETON JACKET
“I simply adore this hand-tailored coat from the 1930s. I bought it from my favorite mens’ vintage shop in London. The structure is amazing and the details are so nuanced—the piping apparently [indicates] the owner of this jacket was a class leader [at Eton].”

 

 

PIERRE HERMÉ PARIS CANDIES

PIERRE HERMÉ PARIS CANDIES ($22 each, pierreherme.com)
“I cannot and will not depart Paris without a supply of sweets from this master candy maker.”

 

 

ANYA HINDMARCH TOTE

ANYA HINDMARCH TOTE ($613, at anyahindmarch.com)
“I refuse to check bags. I travel light and have had my eye on this tote.”

 

 

MASALA DABBA SPICE CANISTER

MASALA DABBA SPICE CANISTER
“I cook a lot. This simple, utilitarian spice container has been my trusty companion for years. I usually keep it stocked with coriander seeds, cumin, chilies, turmeric, cinnamon sticks, and star anise.”

 

Photography: (tote) Courtesy of vendor; (all others) Anna Knott

 

LORO PIANA CASHMERE SHAWL

LORO PIANA CASHMERE SHAWL ($1,350, loropiana.com)
“I am cold all the time and have developed a physical dependency on cashmere. Lately, I’ve been seeking a small cashmere shawl that can double as a throw or a scarf.”

 

 

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE ($27, The Book Cellar, 4736–38 N. Lincoln Ave.)
“My earliest memories of movies¬—and my standards for judging films to this day—were shaped by Stanley Kubrick’s mastery of texture, detail, and time.”

 

 

VINTAGE PATRICK KELLY DRESS

VINTAGE PATRICK KELLY DRESS
“It’s 1980s fabulousness, and by an incredible designer who helped bring American playfulness to French fashion.”

 

 

ROLEX YACHT-MASTER

ROLEX YACHT-MASTER (Price on request, rolex.com)
“Girls look sexy in men’s watches, and I love a classic chronograph.”

 

 

ANTARCTICA

A TRIP TO ANTARCTICA
I despise the cold but I have to hit all 7 continents.

 

Photography: (shawl, watch) Courtesy of vendors; (Antarctica) oversnap/iphoto; (all others) Anna Knott

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