Adriano Pedrosa, the curator behind an acclaimed series of exhibitions that’s been credited with dramatically expanding art history, has won a $25,000 award given out by Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies.
He is the 2023 recipient of the Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence, which has gone to an array of well-regarded curators, from Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev to Okwui Enwezor. He is one of the few Latin American curators to have ever won the award.
Pedrosa is the artistic director of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, where he has initiated the “Histórias” series, whose aim is to think through under-recognized strands of art history.
The best known of those shows is 2018’s “Histórias Afro-Atlânticas,” or “Afro-Atlantic Histories.” The epic show initially featured hundreds of works, and is currently traveling the U.S. in an altered, truncated version that Vice President Kamala Harris has even praised as “historic.”
The exhibition focused on the transatlantic slave trade, its lingering effects on Black communities around the world, and perseverance in spite of the horrors wrought by it. With its focus on systemic racism and lesser-known artists, the show was considered a watershed and an example of the kind of cutting-edge curating institutions could undertake.
Other editions of the “Histórias” series have focused on queerness, Indigenous communities, dance, and Brazil’s national history.
Tom Eccles, executive director of CCS Bard, said in a statement that the “Histórias” series is “trailblazing.”
“Adriano Pedrosa’s commitment to amplifying and recontextualizing works that address pressing themes of our time has engaged new audiences in São Paulo’s critical arts dialogue,” Eccles said. “His work fosters the highest social and civic values of the visual arts, contributing new perspectives that propel the entire field forward.”