Adriana Kertzer is a curator who is passionate about cultural theory and design. She refined her ideas on contemporary Brazilian design at Parsons and now shares them in her book Favelization.
Growing up in Brazil and the United States, Adriana Kertzer developed a keen understanding of cultural context and a nuanced view of stereotypes. In Favelization, an e-book based on her master’s thesis, Kertzer examines how some contemporary Brazilian filmmakers and designers employ primitivism through the use of favelas—informal squatter settlements—as a motif to make their work attractive to non-Brazilian audiences. Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, recently published Favelization as part of the museum’s e-book series, DesignFile.
Before Parsons, Kertzer worked as a capital markets lawyer, served as acting assistant general counsel at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and ran her own consulting company. Today she is a member of the curatorial team at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, working on the exhibition New Territories: Laboratories for Design, Craft and Art in Latin America and overseeing the digital strategy for the show. “Language matters, and design is political,” explains Kertzer. “I hope my research encourages designers to consider the power of cultural tropes in an increasingly global culture.”