The International Association of Art Critics, based in Paris, was founded in 1948 as an NGO, linked to UNESCO. Reynaldo dos Santos was left in charge of the Portuguese Section, and he invited Luís Reis Santos to organise it. These two historians invited sculptor Diogo de Macedo, Armando Vieira and Adriano de Gusmão to join the Portuguese Section.
In March 1967, José Augusto França and Rui Mário Gonçalves organised the First Congress of Portuguese Art Critics. At this congress, having researched the Portuguese context, they proposed a restructuring of the Portuguese Section to the dozens of people who attended it, and this restructuring was approved. From 1968 onwards, the Portuguese Section was presided by (in some cases, for more than one term): José Augusto França, Rui Mário Gonçalves, Salette Tavares, Carlos Duarte, Fernando Pernes, Sílvia Chicó, Fernando de Azevedo, Pedro Vieira de Almeida, João Pinharanda, Manuel Graça Dias and Delfim Sardo. The current president is João Silvério.
AICA’s Portuguese Section organised two very prestigious international congresses in 1976 and 1986. The purpose of AICA is to support and promote art criticism as a discipline. Among other applications, AICA is present as a jury in selecting and awarding art in various ways. From 1968 to 1972, in partnership with the company SOQUIL, AICA awarded the best exhibitions held in Lisbon. From 1981, AICA began considering the entire country, and once a year it selects a visual artist and an architect worthy of a national award, funded by the Ministry of Culture. The awarded artists must have a substantial portfolio at the time when they are issued the award, and they will usually have completed some form of cultural event in the previous year, whether it be holding an exhibition, or completing a work in a public space, for instance. Thus, as well as benefitting and recognising the artist, the AICA/MC Award encourages the best artists to exhibit their work publicly, and it helps to make their work accessible the greater public.
In 2009, AICA’s Portuguese Section created an Art Criticism award in partnership with Parque Expo: the AICA/Parque EXPO Award for art criticism, with a monetary value similar to the AICA/MC Award. This award aims to promote visual art criticism and theory.
Rui Mário Gonçalves Lisbon, 28 March 2006 Revised on 19 march 2015