Conference Program


CIMAM 2024 in Los Angeles
Sustainable Futures
How? When? For Whom?
6 to 8 December 2024

Registration is now open for the 56th Annual Conference in Los Angeles from December 6–8, 2024. Seats are limited, and CIMAM members will have priority access in case of a waiting list. Registration will be open until September 30, unless seats have been sold out before.

The CIMAM 2024 Annual Conference in Los Angeles will address the subject of sustainability from an integrated and holistic perspective, beginning with our desire to respond to climate change by reassessing our policies around collection care and conservation; rethinking the buildings we occupy and the cities we are part of; while also exploring innovative models for economic sustainability and community building.

Co-hosted by The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Hammer Museum at UCLA, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and with lead support from the Getty Foundation and additional support from the Perenchio Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, and East West Bank, the conference will address key questions such as: How do museums navigate the tensions of the ongoing cycles of crisis and change? What does it mean in the context of art institutions? How are museums putting it into practice? And how do we acknowledge different contexts, cultures, and economies?

Through keynote speeches and panel format presentations and discussions, the conference will engage colleagues at the forefront of the field who are thinking anew about the intersection of museological practice, climate/social change, and contemporary art, and forging new models of sustainable practice in the cultural sector. Artists are central to this change—in pushing the conventions by challenging notions of what is 'collected' and 'preserved'; in re-defining the possibilities of art in relation to community engagement; and in centering indigenous perspectives and belief systems that fundamentally question the proscribed definitions of art as well as our relationship to nature and ecology.

The three-day conference will be followed by an optional post-conference tour to the Desert from 9 to 10 December.

Day 1: Friday, December 6
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

From left to right, Mark Bradford, John Kenneth Paranada, J Fiona Ragheb, Kelsey Shell, Daniel Vega, Cecilia Winter, Michael Maltzan, Andrea Lissoni, and Sara Zewde.

Introduction by Clara Kim, CIMAM Board Member, Chair of the 2024 Contents Committee, Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Keynote: Mark Bradford, Artist, Los Angeles.

Session: What is our Agency? The Contemporary Art Museum and Climate Crisis.

We are living through a time of climate crisis. What does sustainability, in the most expansive sense, look like within institutions today? How are we as a group of professionals enacting lasting structural changes in our institutions? What are the opportunities for the sustainable museum? How do we think about collection environments in ways that speak to the entanglements of addressing carbon emission reduction? How can a commitment to equality, social change, and cultural transformation be part of a sustainable vision for museums for the future?

With presentations by

  • John Kenneth Paranada, Curator of Art and Climate Change, Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia, London.
  • J Fiona Ragheb, Deputy Director for Curatorial and Exhibitions, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, in conversation with Kelsey Shell, Environmental & Sustainability Strategist, MOCA, Los Angeles.
  • Daniel Vega, Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Conservation, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao.
  • Cecilia Winter, Project Specialist, Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, USA.

Moderated by Suzanne Cotter, CIMAM Board Member, Member of the 2024 Contents Committee, and Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), Sydney.

Session: Sustainable Ecosystems: Rethinking Museum Collections and Buildings within the Urban and Social Realm.

Museums are living, thriving entities that are part of the urban landscape, having an impact on neighborhoods, communities, and cities. As part of a larger ecosystem with a wide range of stakeholders, museums are tasked with intellectual, historical, and social responsibility, as well as expected to respond to moments of crisis and change. As museums take a turn towards the social, how do we develop more sustainable ecosystems that re-imagine our role and responsibility within the larger urban fabric of a city? How do we rethink our collections and buildings as porous boundaries between the public and private, between the past and present, between the museum and community, between the physical and the environmental? How do we redefine our relationship to place beyond museum walls?

With presentations by

  • Djon Mundine, Artist, Curator, Writer, Activist, Sydney.
  • Michael Maltzan, Principal, Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc., Los Angeles.
  • Andrea Lissoni, Artistic Director, Haus der Kunst, Munich.
  • Sara Zewde, Principal, Studio Zewde, New York

Moderated by Amanda de la Garza, CIMAM Board Member, Member of the 2024 Contents Committee, and Artistic Deputy Director, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (MNCARS), Madrid.

Followed by workshops, afternoon visits to the Getty Center, PST Art exhibitions, and dinner.

Day 2: Saturday, December 7
Hammer Museum

From left to right, Zita Cobb, Ibrahim Mahama, Yesomi Umolu, Manuel Segade, Andrea Fraser, Mai Abu ElDahab and Walid Raad

Introduction by Kitty Scott, CIMAM Board Member, Member of the Contents Committee, and Independent Curator, Toronto.

Keynote: Zita Cobb, CEO Shorefast, Co-Founder, Shorefast, Ottawa / Joe Batt's Arm.

Session: Economies of Sustainability: Ethics, Values and Resilience.

Within the economic, political, and social challenges we face today, the need to reassess existing financial models has become more urgent than ever as it relates to the long-term health and viability of museums and as we navigate the encroaching lines between public good and private interests. What do sustainable funding structures look like in the art and cultural sector? How is the governance of museums affected by who’s in power and what’s in play? What changing philanthropic models can museums and non-profits learn from? How do social impact philanthropy and artist-generated projects help sustain long-term goals for self-reliance as well as create new resilient models?

With presentations by

  • Ibrahim Mahama, Artist and Founder, Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA) and Red Clay Studio, Ghana, in conversations with Yesomi Umolu, Arts Leader and curator, London.
  • Manuel Segade, Director, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (MNCARS), Madrid.
  • Andrea Fraser, Professor, UCLA, Los Angeles.
  • Mai Abu ElDahab, Director, Mophradat, Brussels

Moderated by Aram Moshayedi, Member of the 2024 Contents Committee, and Interim Chief Curator, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Interlude presentation

  • Artist Talk by Walid Raad
    Two drops per heartbeat: A free-fall in the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection.

Followed by workshops, afternoon visits to PST Art exhibitions, and dinner.

Day 3: Sunday, December 8
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Day 3_ no text
From left to right, Candice Hopkins, Edgar Calel, Taloi Havini and Pablo José Ramírez.

Introduction by Joselina Cruz, CIMAM Board Member, Member of the Contents Committee, and Director/Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) Manila.

Keynote: Candice Hopkins, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Forge Projects, Taghkanic.

Session: Sustainable Communities: Indigenous Perspectives and Worldviews.

Indigenous artists, curators, and thinkers have been making highly visible change in museums throughout the world. Indigenous ways of thinking and knowing have permeated institutions and the practices of exhibition making and collecting. What does sustainability, when seen and understood through indigenous perspectives, mean for our institutions? What should be sustained, changed, and re-imagined? How do indigenous perspectives and worldviews integrate the environment and the natural world as cultural material rather than separate from the practice of artmaking?

With presentations by

  • Edgar Calel, Artist, San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala.
  • Pablo José Ramírez, Curator, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
  • Taloi Havini, Artist, Brisbane.

Moderated by Rita Gonzalez, Member of the 2024 Contents Committee, and Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and Department Head of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles.

Followed by closing remarks by Content Committee members, CIMAM's General Assembly, afternoon visits, and farewell dinner.

Post-Conference Tour to the Desert
9–10 December 2024

High Desert Test Sites
Installation view of AZ West Wagon Stations, Joshua Tree, CA 2015. © Andrea Zittel, Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles. Photo: Lance Brewer

The Post-Conference tour to Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, and the High Desert—a two-hour drive from downtown LA—will give conference participants an opportunity to experience the unique desert landscape of Southern California as well as ruminate on our place on earth in relationship to extreme climate conditions and delicate ecosystems. Seats are limited, and CIMAM members will have priority access in case of a waiting list.

Learn more about the Post Conference Tour,

Book your seat today!