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November 29, 2023
Manuel Borja-Villel to Receive Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence; CCS Bard Alum Carla Acevedo-Yates ’14 is Recipient of Inaugural CCS Bard Alumni Award
Resnicow and Associates: Juliet Sorce / Chelsea Beroza / Emilia Litwak
Tel: +1 212-671-5158 / 212-671-5165 / 212-671-5168
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ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY (November 29, 2023)— The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard) announces internationally renowned art historian and curator Manuel Borja-Villel as the 2024 recipient of the Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence. Accompanied by a $25,000 prize, the award, which first launched in 1998, honors outstanding curatorial achievements that have brought innovative thinking, bold vision, and dedicated service to advancing the field of exhibition-making today.

In addition to the 2024 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence, CCS Bard announces the inaugural CCS Bard Alumni Award recognizing an outstanding graduate for sustained innovation and engagement in exhibition making, public education, research, and a commitment to the field. CCS Bard Alum Carla Acevedo-Yates (2014) will be the first recipient to receive the newly created award, which comes with a $10,000 prize.

Borja-Villel and Acevedo-Yates will both be honored at CCS Bard’s spring 2024 gala celebration and dinner on April 8, 2024. The event, which is chaired by the CCS Bard Board of Governors, will be held in New York City at The Lighthouse at Pier 61.

“Manuel Borja-Villel embodies the critical role of curators today in challenging accepted modes of practice to facilitate meaningful and responsive discourse on visual culture, past and present,” said Tom Eccles, Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. “As we celebrate Manuel’s achievements following his departure as the transformational director of Museo Reina Sofia, we also recognize the outstanding contributions of Carla Acevedo-Yates, whose curatorial career has brought visibility to overlooked artists across the Americas.”

“Needless to say, I am very honored and grateful. I am honored because I have collaborated on different occasions with many of the past awardees and I have always respected and admired their work,” said Borja-Villel. “To be part of this group of people is a joy. I am grateful because the award is in recognition of a trajectory. Mine has developed in museums, that is, my work has always been done together with others. My award is also theirs.“

“I am honored to be recognized by my peers as the inaugural recipient of the CCS Bard Alumni Award at CCS Bard, an institution that has been deeply influential in how I approach curatorial practice and working with artists,” said Acevedo-Yates. “CCS was such a meaningful experience in so many ways. Apart from understanding exhibition-making as an intellectually driven spatial practice, I also gained a generous community of colleagues that have accompanied me through the years.”

About Manuel Borja-Villel
Manuel Borja-Villel (Burriana, Spain, 1957) is an art historian and curator. He previously served as Director of the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid from 2008 to 2023. During his tenure, he carried out a radical reinstallation of the collection and established the Museo en Red, a network of organizations, collectives, and institutions that question and affect the museum’s ways of doing, expanding its boundaries from beyond. Prior to this role, Borja-Villel was Director at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA (1998-2007) and at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona (1989-1998). As Director of these institutions, he developed an extensive body of work that signified a turning point in contemporary curatorial practice: resignifying narratives and exhibition dispositives and their role in the governance of the institution. Most recently, Borja-Villel was one of the curators at the 35th edition of the São Paulo Biennial, where he contributed to the exhibition choreographies of the impossible.

Borja-Villel has curated numerous exhibitions dedicated to some of the most important artists of our time, such as those featuring Marcel Broodthaers and Lygia Clark. Similarly, he has been instrumental in the recovery of works by lesser known and unjustly forgotten artists such as Andrzej Wróblewski, Nasreen Mohamedi, Ree Morton, Elena Asins or Ulises Carrión. He has also organized important thesis-driven exhibitions such as La Ciudad de la Gente (The City of the People) (1996), Antagonismos (Antagonisms) (2001), Un Teatro sin Teatro (A Theater without Theater) (2007), Principio Potosí (2010), Playgrounds, Reinventar la Plaza (Playground, the Reinvention of the Square) (2014), and Maquinaciones (2023). Among his most ambitious achievements is the comprehensive rehanging of the collection of the Museo Reina Sofía. Entitled Vasos Comunicantes (Communicating Vessels), the reinstallation encompassed approximately 12,000 square meters and included more than 3,000 works and documents, a significant portion of which was shown publicly for the first time. Vasos Comunicantes was organized into micro-exhibitions, proposing an open-ended rhizomatic structure, in which past events were interwoven with the present.

After completing his bachelor’s degree at the Universidad de Valencia (Spain) in 1980, Borja-Villel moved to the United States to study at Yale University and later at the City University of New York, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1989. His latest book, titled Campos Magnéticos. Textos sobre arte y política (Magentic Fields. Texts on art and politics) (Barcelona, 2020) was written in Spanish and recently published in expanded editions in both Italian and Portuguese.

About Carla Acevedo-Yates
Carla Acevedo-Yates was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and has worked as a curator, researcher, and art critic across Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. She currently serves as the Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the MCA Chicago, where she recently curated the 2022 exhibition Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora 1990s – Today (touring to ICA Boston beginning in October 2023 and MCA San Diego in 2024), and the MCA Chicago presentation of Duane Linklater: mymothersside, and Entre Horizontes: Art and Activism Between Chicago and Puerto Rico, currently on view. Previous exhibitions at the MCA Chicago include Carolina Caycedo: From the Bottom of the River (2020) and Chicago Works: Omar Velázquez (2020). She also conceptualized and leads the museum’s Hemispheric Initiative, a pan-institutional effort that centers Caribbean, Latinx, and Latin American art and perspectives through exhibitions, programs, and international collaborations. This institution-wide initiative led to the transformation of the MCA Chicago into a fully bilingual English/Spanish museum.

Previously, she was Associate Curator at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University where she curated over 15 exhibitions, including solo presentations of new work by Johanna Unzueta, Claudia Peña Salinas, Duane Linklater, and Beatriz Santiago Muñoz. She curated Fiction of a Production (2018), a major exhibition by conceptual art pioneer David Lamelas and co-curated Michigan Stories: Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw (2017). Major group exhibitions include The Edge of Things: Dissident Art Under Repressive Regimes (2019). In 2015, she was awarded The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for an article on Cuban painter Zilia Sánchez. After earning a bachelor’s degree at Barnard College, she pursued her graduate studies at CCS Bard, where she was awarded with the Ramapo Curatorial Prize for the exhibition Turn on the bright lights.

About Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence
Launched at CCS Bard in 1998 to recognize groundbreaking visionaries in the curatorial field, the Award for Curatorial Excellence is selected by an independent panel of leading contemporary art curators, museum directors, and artists. The award is named in recognition of patron Audrey Irmas, who bestowed the endowment for the Audrey Irmas Prize of $25,000. Irmas is an emeritus board member of CCS Bard and an active member of the Los Angeles arts and philanthropic community. The award itself is designed by artist Lawrence Weiner, and is based on his 2006 commission Bard Enter, conceived for the entrance to the Hessel Museum of Art at CCS Bard.

Past recipients of the Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence include Adriano Pedrosa (2023), Valerie Cassel Oliver (2022), Connie Butler (2020), Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (2019), Lia Gangitano (2018), Nicholas Serota (2017), Thelma Golden (2016), Christine Tohmé and Martha Wilson (2015), Charles Esche (2014), Elisabeth Sussman (2013), Ann Goldstein (2012), Helen Molesworth and Hans Ulrich Obrist (2011), Lucy Lippard (2010), Okwui Enwezor (2009), Catherine David (2008), Alanna Heiss (2007), Lynne Cooke and Vasif Kortun (2006), Kathy Halbreich and Mari Carmen Ramírez (2005), Walter Hopps (2004), Kynaston McShine (2003), Susanne Ghez (2002), Paul Schimmel (2001), Kasper König (2000), Marcia Tucker (1999), and Harald Szeemann (1998).

About the CCS Bard Alumni Award
The CCS Bard Alumni Award recognizes an outstanding graduate of the Center for Curatorial Studies for sustained innovation and engagement in exhibition-making, public education, research and a commitment to the field. The Award is designed by artist Liam Gillick, and the awardee is selected annually by faculty members of the program. The award is presented annually at the CCS Bard Gala in New York and the awardee will receive $10,000.

The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College
The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard) is the leading institution dedicated to curatorial studies, a field exploring the conditions that inform contemporary exhibition-making and artistic practice. Through its Graduate Program, Library and Archives, and the Hessel Museum of Art, CCS Bard serves as an incubator for interdisciplinary practices, advances new and underrepresented perspectives in contemporary art, and cultivates a student body from diverse backgrounds in a broad effort to transform the curatorial field. CCS Bard’s dynamic and multifaceted program includes exhibitions, symposia, publications, and public events, which explore the critical potential of the practice of exhibition-making.