Nina Johnson-Milewski

A woman in a lilac suit

The gallery owner and Soho Beach House Miami member discusses what to consider when curating an art show

Nina Johnson-Milewski is the owner of her namesake gallery, which opened in 2007 as Gallery Diet and is now located in a four-building compound in Little Haiti. Over the years, she has hosted exhibitions by artists as far reaching as The Florida Highwaymen and Beatrice Wood to Jonas Mekas and Betty Woodman, as well as contemporaries such as Cassi Namoda, Jamilah Sabur, Emmett Moore, Katie Stout, Derek Fordjour, and Awol Erizku.

As a Miami local, her favorite House is Soho Beach House. ‘My family and I love going early on a Sunday for breakfast at Cecconi’s and a quick dip in the ocean. What could be better than that?’ she says.

Here, Johnson-Milewski shares her top tips for curating an art show.

‘I always look for shows that are reflecting our world back at us. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the work has to be about our current moment, but I find the most impactful exhibitions often create space for introspection and give us new ways of looking at the world.’

‘The artists that I show tend to have a streak of empathy in their work – a kind of deep soul that connects them to the world as people, not just as makers but as participants in society.’
‘I’m interested in work that holds a unique space, one that is particular to that artist’s individual voice, his/ her own history. Because of that specificity, this type of work tends to translate and become universal.’

‘It’s always important to consider the context in which an exhibition is being presented. Who is the audience? How are we being sensitive and thought-provoking? The world shifts and it’s critical that galleries respond to these shifts in a delicate manner.’