Statement by the Board of CIMAM as given to the Members at the Annual Conference
1. When the events at MACBA took place, the board of CIMAM asked Bartomeu Mari to give a response, which he circulated to all of the Board members. At a skype meeting on April 8th, it was agreed that he should remain as President. It was also agreed that a session on the challenges of freedom of expression and institutional responsibilities should be included in the conference. The note of this skype meeting was distributed to all of the Board members.
2. At the following Board meeting in Venice in May, the content of the conference was discussed. It was agreed that day one should be devoted to the topic of Museums as sites of debate, with a key note speaker and four perspectives from different parts of the world. (the overall theme being how global can museums be). Following the Board meeting, the proposed list of speakers was circulated to all of the Board members. A number of Board members gave further input.
3. A week before the conference, two Board members sent a note to the Board criticising the content of the conference and circulating a letter about the MACBA events attacking the President.
4. Board members did not agree that the content should be changed at this late stage.
5. A skype meeting was held just before the conference to ascertain why these board members were only now raising concerns about the content of the conference and the position of the President. Those Board members requested the resignation of the President and when this was not forthcoming, they chose to resign.
Statement of Resignation from three Members of the Board of the International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM)
We believe that art museums engaged with contemporary issues should be sites for the free exchange of ideas, where legal debate about and dissension from government policy or majority social opinion are allowed and encouraged. Museums are one of the key places where new ideas and possibilities can enter society. That’s why they are often under threat. We believe CIMAM’s main task today is to defend as much as is possible this space for debate and to set ethical standards of behaviour towards artists, curators and the public. The recent course of events at MACBA and within the board at CIMAM have led us to doubt whether our current president can defend those values credibly. We therefore feel we have no option but to resign from the board as we no longer have confidence in how it represents the interests of CIMAM members. We will remain members and we do hope that CIMAM can restore its credibility in the near future through new leadership. We wish the board well in setting its future course.
Artistic Director of L’appartement 22, Rabat
Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha.
Director of Research & Programs at SALT, Istanbul.
Director Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
Editorial Director, Afterall Publishing, London