December was a banner month for museum director and CalArts alum Adriano Pedrosa (Art-Critical Studies MFA 95). The board of La Biennale di Venezia and its President Roberto Cicutto named Pedrosa—currently the artistic director of Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) in Brazil—as curator of the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, scheduled to open in April 2024. And just a few weeks before the Biennale announcement, Pedrosa was selected as the recipient of the 2023 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence. Presented by the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in New York, the award is accompanied by a $25,000 prize. Pedrosa was honored by the CCS Bard Board of Governors at a gala dinner on April 3.
For both honors, Pedrosa was recognized for his extensive curatorial experience and a career that has been marked by innovative thinking, fearless vision, and thought-provoking examination of history. Prior to his work at MASP, Pedrosa was adjunct curator of the 24th Bienal de São Paulo (1998), curator in charge of exhibitions and collections at Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte (2000-2003), co-curator of the 27th Bienal de São Paulo (2006), and curator of the São Paulo pavilion at the 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012).
As a writer, Pedrosa has been published in Artforum, Art Nexus (Bogotá), Bomb, Frieze (London), and The Exhibitionist (Berlin), among others. In 2013, Pedrosa worked with artist and CalArts faculty emeritus Leslie Dick to create the volume: A List of Students Enrolled in Post Studio Art, with Michael Asher at CalArts 1976-2008. The late artist and faculty member Asher was famously known for critiques in his Post Studio Art course, which could stretch from 10 am until evening. All proceeds from the sale of the book were donated to the Michael Asher Scholarship Fund at CalArts.
In a press statement about his appointment as curator of the Biennale Arte 2024, the world’s longest-running contemporary art exhibition, Pedrosa noted:
I am honored and humbled by this prestigious appointment, especially as the first Latin American to curate the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, and in fact the first one based in the Southern Hemisphere. The Biennale is certainly the most important platform for contemporary art in the world, and it is an exciting challenge and a responsibility to embark on this project. I look forward to bringing artists to Venice and realizing their projects, as well as to working with the Biennale’s great team.
Pedrosa’s work with the Biennale includes organizing the large-scale group show as well as dozens of independently organized national exhibitions. The Biennale Arte 2024 is scheduled to open on Saturday, April 20, running through Sunday, Nov. 24, 2024.