Smooth Nzewi joined The Museum of Modern Art in July 2019 as the first Steven and Lisa Tananbaum Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture. He leads the Africa group in the Museum’s Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives (C-MAP), MoMA’s internal research and exchange initiative devoted to art in a global context. His projects at MoMA include the exhibition Frédéric Bruly Bouabré: World Unbound (2022).
Prior to joining MoMA, Nzewi was Curator of African Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art (2017–19), where he organized Second Careers: Two Tributaries in African Art (2020) and co-organized Ama: The Gathering Place (2019). Before Cleveland, Nzewi was Curator of African Art at Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum (2013–17). There, his exhibitions included Inventory: New Works and Conversations around African Art (2016), and he spearheaded the acquisition of works by artists such as Kader Attia, Candice Brietz, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Julie Mehretu, and Obiora Udechukwu.
Nzewi holds a PhD in art history from Emory University. As an artist, he has exhibited internationally and is represented in public and private collections including the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC, and Newark Museum, New Jersey.