Nicole J. Caruth is an independent curator and writer whose work examines place and identity and often focuses on the necessities of life—such as food, shelter, and health—and the relationships that help human beings to thrive. She works with contemporary artists in gallery contexts and public spaces, organizing exhibitions such as: The Grace Jones Project; Burning Down the House: Building a Feminist Art Collection; Fallen Fruit: Power of People, Power of Place; Derrick Adams: Crossroad—A Social Sculpture; and, most recently, Build Better Tables, a temporary public-art exhibition commissioned by Metro Arts: Nashville Office of Arts and Culture. She has written for the Joan Mitchell Foundation and The Studio Museum in Harlem, and her writing has been published in ARTnews; C Magazine; Gastronomica; Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art; Public Art Review; and Vitamin Green, a Phaidon Press volume.
Currently, Caruth serves as consulting artistic director at The Union for Contemporary Art; as its former director of pedagogy and public practice, she established the annual Wanda D. Ewing Commission—to support the production and presentation of new work by emerging or mid-career Black women artists—and the Community-Engaged Art Incubator, a yearlong series of workshops for artists whose practices involve communities. Previously, Caruth was the artistic director at McColl Center for Art + Innovation. She has also held positions at Art21 and the Brooklyn Museum, where she worked at the intersection of education, curation, and digital technology. In 2013, she was the founding editor of the online Art21 Magazine.
Caruth has written extensively on the intersection of food and contemporary art and is recognized as a leading voice on the subject. In 2012, she launched the organization, With Food in Mind, a platform for art-based approaches to childhood obesity and nutrition disparities in low-resource communities. She discusses the motivations for this work in her TEDx Talk, “Let Them Eat Art.” Recently, she has focused her research on neighborliness, exploring how artists and art institutions can be better neighbors and influence people to act on behalf of each other to improve everyone’s quality of life.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Caruth earned her bachelor's degree at San Francisco State University and her master's degree at the Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies. She has been awarded research and writing residencies at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, The Laundromat Project, and The David C. Driskell Center. She is a 2017–18 Diversity + Leadership Fellow with the Alliance of Artists Communities. Caruth currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island. In her spare time, she can be found at the nearest yoga or spin studio or on the sofa, watching episodes of Criminal Minds and Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.