MINNEAPOLIS— The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) announced that Valéria Piccoli, Ph.D., will join the museum in the new role of Ken and Linda Cutler Chair of the Arts of the Americas and Curator of Latin American Art, following an extensive, global search. Piccoli comes to Mia from Pinacoteca de São Paulo, Brazil, where she has been chief curator since 2012, curating exhibitions such as “Pinacoteca: Acervo” [Collection]; “Ernesto Neto: Sopro” [Breath]; “Rosana Paulino: a costura da memória” [The Sewing of Memory]; and “Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic.” At the Pinacoteca, she has focused on acquisitions strategy, especially on adding underrepresented artists to the collection. Mia’s new curatorial role is made possible through the generous support of Ken and Linda Cutler, who pledged a bequest worth at least $6 million toward this position, and a commitment to annual support toward the salary of the Latin American curator until the bequest is realized. Piccoli will start at Mia later this month.
“We are thrilled to have Valéria Piccoli join the Mia team as the inaugural Ken and Linda Cutler Chair of the Arts of the Americas and Curator of Latin American Art, adding her extensive skill set to the curatorial department, the museum, and beyond,” said Katie Luber, Nivin and Duncan MacMillan Director and President of Mia. “Valéria’s creative and unique exhibitions, as well as her focus in acquiring art from historically underrepresented artists, make her a perfect choice for Mia. Her widely acknowledged international work will bring exciting new perspectives to the museum and highlight critical new areas of collecting that recognize the growing population of Latin Americans in the Twin Cities and the United States. We can’t wait to welcome her in person.”
“I am excited to join the Minneapolis Institute of Art to bring the arts of the Americas and Latin American art to the community of Minneapolis and beyond through new acquisitions, exciting exhibitions, and programs for people of all ages,” said Piccoli. “Thank you to Ken and Linda Cutler for their generous support, which has helped Mia launch this new position, and to Katie Luber, Mia’s director, for having the vision to see that this is an essential area of growth for the museum. I look forward to sharing my love of art with the community and hope to introduce Mia to artists and exhibitions that will become lifelong favorites.”
Piccoli has worked as a curator for more than 20 years. With an undergraduate architecture degree, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in art history from the University of São Paulo, Piccoli started her work focusing on the iconography of European traveler artists working in 16th- to 19th-century Latin America, and has expanded it to include modern and contemporary art. Her recent exhibitions have included a focus on artists Ernesto Neto, Grada Kilomba, and Rosana Paulino and exhibitions on landscape painting and women in Latin American art. Most recently, since 2012, she was the chief curator, Pinacoteca de São Paulo, where she managed a team of 32 across curatorial, research, conservation, registration, and documentation departments, guiding the development of exhibitions and public programs. She curated three long-term exhibitions of the museum’s collection; the latest, “Pinacoteca: Acervo,” featured a 19-gallery display of more than 1,000 works from 419 artists. Guiding the acquisitions of the museum, she expanded representation of female artists, artists of the African diaspora, and Indigenous Brazilian artists. She started work at Pinacoteca de São Paulo in 2008 as a senior curator, where she oversaw the commission and installation of site-specific works of art, mentored curatorial interns, and led research and development of content related to the museum’s collection. Exhibitions she curated have traveled to museums around the world, including Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (Argentina), Centro Cultural La Moneda (Santiago, Chile), Museu de Arte do Rio (Rio de Janeiro), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, AR), and Espace Culturel ING (Brussels). Piccoli’s many awards and fellowships during her time at Pinacoteca de São Paulo include the 2021 Círculo de Críticos de Arte de Chile [Circle of Chilean Art Critics] Award for Best International Exhibition for “Ernesto Neto: Sopro” at Centro Cultural La Moneda, Santiago de Chile; a 2017 Clark Art Institute (Williamstown, MA) Research and Academic Program Fellowship; and an Associação Paulista de Críticos de Arte [São Paulo Art Critics Association] Award for Best Retrospective for “Vlavianos: Trajetória” at Estação Pinacoteca.
Prior to joining Pinacoteca de São Paulo, Piccoli was the curator of Coleção Brasiliana / Fundação Estudar for five years, where she researched and cataloged the collection, developed exhibition and publication content, and worked on interpretive materials for exhibitions. She was the assistant curator for the 24th and 25th editions of the Bienal de São Paulo, where she headed up research, worked to coordinate loans, and contributed to the curatorial material for the Education Department.
About the Ken and Linda Cutler Curator of Latin American Art
Mia’s creation of a new curatorial position for Latin American art reflects the growing Latino and Hispanic communities in the Twin Cities—as well as an awareness of a gap in the museum’s global approach to collecting and presenting art, which includes a diverse array of historical and contemporary art from across Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as Native American communities and postcolonial America. The Ken and Linda Cutler Curator of Latin American Art addresses this gap, with an endowment gift that funds the position in perpetuity. And while Mia’s collection does include some works from ancient Central and South America, as well as selected works from the modern era, this new position is an opportunity to put an emphasis on growing collections in these areas and on creating or collaborating on the development of new exhibitions and programs.