Alex Fialho is a PhD candidate in Yale University’s Combined PhD program in the History of Art and African American Studies. As an art historian and curator, Fialho’s scholarship focuses on modern and contemporary art, Black feminist and queer theory, and AIDS cultural studies. His dissertation thinks through photography by African American artists and archives of their work as apertures onto AIDS-related art histories. Fialho is a 2023–2024 Helena Rubinstein Critical Studies Fellow in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.
Fialho identifies as a white, queer, HIV-negative, cisgender person (he/they). Their work in community intends to be in service and support of queer, femme, Black and anti-racist creative practices. Prior to graduate school, Fialho worked as Programs Director of the New York-based arts non-profit Visual AIDS from 2014–2019, facilitating projects around the history and immediacy of the ongoing AIDS pandemic, while intervening against the widespread whitewashing of HIV/AIDS cultural narratives. As an Oral Historian for the Smithsonian Archives of American Art’s Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, he conducted in-depth oral histories with fifteen cultural producers including Gregg Bordowitz, Douglas Crimp, Nan Goldin, Lyle Ashton Harris, and Julie Tolentino.
Fialho’s writing on artists King Cobra, Beauford Delaney, Juliana Huxtable, Glenn Ligon, Kenya (Robinson), Devan Shimoyama and Sable Elyse Smith has been published in exhibition catalogs for the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Socrates Sculpture Park, the Andy Warhol Museum, and more.
Since 2016, with collaborator Melissa Levin, Fialho has stewarded the legacy of artist Michael Richards. In 2021, Fialho and Levin co-curated Richards’ first museum retrospective—Michael Richards: Are You Down?—at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami. The exhibition was recognized by Frieze magazine as one of the “Top 10 Shows in the United States of 2021.” In 2023, the retrospective travels to the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Fialho and Levin also co-curated the survey exhibition Michael Richards: Winged at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in 2016, and the Stanford Art Gallery in 2019. At Stanford, they organized the interdisciplinary academic symposium “Flight, Diaspora, Identity, and Afterlife: A Symposium on the Art of Michael Richards.”
Fialho has earned an MPhil and MA in the History of Art and African American Studies from Yale University, and a BA in Art History with Honors and Distinction from Stanford University.