Amanda de la Garza
Amanda de la Garza. Director, MUAC, Mexico City, Mexico
Years professionally involved in the contemporary art museum field: 10 years
Have you served on another board or organization similar to CIMAM? Yes
If so, where and how long have you served? ICOM Mexico, Board member, 6 months.
Short bio. Describe also your involvement with CIMAM and the museum community:
(Mexico, 1981) Lives and works in Mexico City. She is curator and art historian. She currently is the Head of Visual Arts at UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) and the Director of the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC - Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo). She holds a BA in Sociology, and a MA in Social Anthropology and Curatorial Studies. From 2012 to 2019 she worked as Adjunct Curator at MUAC. She has developed curatorial projects in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Spain and USA. She has been awarded the Emerging Curators Prize, Frontiers Biennial, and several research grants in Mexico and abroad.
Some of her recent curatorial projects include Atlas Western. Chantal Peñalosa (MUAC, 2022) Leandro Katz. Project For the Day You’ll Love Me and the Ghost Dance (MUAC, 2018), Tlacolulokos (LALA-PST, Getty Foundation/Los Angeles Central Library, 2017), Ignasi Duarte. Fictional Conversations (MUAC, 2017), Oscar Santillán. Macula (MUAC, 2017), To the Artist of the World. The Museum of Solidarity Salvador Allende. Mexico/Chile 1971-1977 (MUAC-MSSA, Santiago, Chile, 2016); Isaac Julien. Playtime & Kapital (MUAC, 2016); The thick sap. Equidistant essays on the tropics (Casa del Lago, Mexico City, 2016). Jeremy Deller. The infinitely ideal of the popular (MUAC, CA2M, Madrid, 2015); Harun Farocki. Vision.Production.Opression (MUAC, 2014) and Hito Steyerl. Circulationism (MUAC, 2014). She has published poems, interviews, reviews and academic papers in local and international journals on subjects such as poetry, documentary photography, urban studies and contemporary art. She is interested in interdisciplinary practices in contemporary art that involve poetry, archive, cinema, Social Sciences, archival research and contemporary dance.
Since an early stage in my career I have been interested in reflecting on the role of museums in society, but this interest had a pivotal point after attending the 2015 CIMAM Annual Conference How Global Can Museums be? I was awarded as a young professional from Latinamerica the Getty Foundation Travel Grant. The conversations and questions posed during that conference made me even more aware about the open possibilities of museums both socially and politically. Since then I started working on the idea of curatorial work and museums as a social arena, places where important and poignant aspects of social life can be discussed and not only venues that exhibit art or preserve it.
I believe, also some of the seminal ideas related to the notion of a situated museum, an institution that is aware of its relationship to a local and global context and the importance of playing in those two grounds, departed from what was discussed back then. After becoming director at MUAC, and specially during the pandemic, I participated in many forums, panels and conferences dedicated to understanding the role of museums in challenging contexts and also the profound changes the pandemic and the social movements have brought to them. I’m currently part of the Board of ICOM Mexico since I believe collective thinking and discussion is relevant for the development of cultural institutions.
Motivation Statement: How can you contribute to CIMAM's mission and strategic goals by being a Member of the Board? (i.e strategy, membership, fundraising, governance, network in strategic regions, availability, knowledge or skills in a specific area):
I believe I can contribute to CIMAM’s vision by voicing the experience of cultural institutions, their history, conversations and challenges, in Latin America, a region that is not sufficiently represented at CIMAM. The region has a very rich and diverse tradition of art museums, both public and private, and many museum practices (curatorial, archival, and educational) developed in the region are not only relevant but innovative, they deserve to be acknowledged in the museum world. I have been very interested both as a curator and a Director in creating a regional network that broadens the interactions in the hemisphere, specially between Mexico and Central and South America.
Therefore, I think I can bring this vision and network to CIMAM and contribute in expanding the scope and strength of the organization, by making it more plural. I have skills in curating and organizing large scale conferences. During my directorship at MUAC in Mexico City, we have held three international conferences dedicated to relevant topics such as: The Digital Museum. Citizenship and Culture, Indigenous Contemporary Art from the Americas and Patrimony in a bit. Digital preservation of artistic and documentary archives. All of them were organized with different international partners that have brought long standing conversations and alliances, that have also changed and developed new programs at the museum. I can bring this vision to CIMAM, by contributing with questions regarding the role of museums in the current world and by bringing into the conversation the ideas of a young generation of museum professionals.
Describe briefly the expectations of your involvement as a CIMAM Board member and how you envision CIMAM's priorities in the next years:
I expect to have constant and active participation in the working groups and exchanging ideas with other colleagues. Rather than individual leadership I believe in collective thinking and imagination as the way to move forward for institutions, organizations, and even more in museums.
So I think the questions posed by CIMAM depart from these collective thinking and to its ability to discuss pressing issues that are relevant in this moment in history and in these challenging times. I think the priorities of CIMAM should be expanding its network to underrepresented regions, as well as continuing to voice the situation, problems and threats museums face, seeking to have even greater influence in this regard.
I also believe CIMAM should incorporate to its conferences and webinar topics such as gender, decolonialism, power asymmetries and organization models. It should also try to acknowledge the notion of scale and context, rather than a universal approach to museum work and struggles. And finally, I believe it might be necessary to develop a wider editorial branch that can compile the conversations held at the organization and its members.