Message from the President

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Photo: Ito Akinori

At the end of a very successful CIMAM 2019 Annual Conference in Sydney, I was honored to be voted President of CIMAM by the Members of the Board. I am delighted that Suzanne Cotter was elected as Secretary-Treasurer. Together with our very experienced and engaged CIMAM Board, and together with the more than 600 CIMAM members from 86 different countries (an all-time record!), I am excited to see how CIMAM can contribute to the museum community and contemporary society in the next three years.

The outgoing President for the period of 2017–19, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, who hosted the CIMAM 2019 Annual Conference, was made an Honorary Member of CIMAM in gratitude for her dedication and important contribution.

Titled The 21st Century Art Museum: Is Context Everything?, this year's conference addressed the evolving relationship between core museological practices and values, and the necessary responsiveness of museums to context in their drive to remain relevant, innovative, and accessible. Attended by over 200 directors and curators of modern and contemporary art museums from around the world, speakers and participants could discuss issues of common concern, meet with other peers and colleagues, and learn about the local artists of the hosting city.

The world surrounding museums of modern and contemporary art is extremely complex with diverse contexts. If museums are a transformative and active agency for reflecting this world in which we are living, all of the issues we discussed in Sydney during the CIMAM 2019 Annual Conference, such as decolonization, new meanings of collection in relationship with the art market, sustainability, ethics and funding, and museum activity beyond the object, wall, and building, must be discussed continuously on the CIMAM platform.

CIMAM was founded in 1962 as one of the International Committees of ICOM. Since 2015, CIMAM has been an Affiliated Organization of ICOM, securing higher independence and flexibility in the management of the organization. In the meantime, those extended discussions around climate change and sustainability, ethics, freedom of expression, and democracy must be deepened within the larger museum community in partnership with ICOM.

The presence at our meeting of Ms. Suay Aksoy, President of ICOM, was especially significant in emphasizing our positive and collaborative relationship while reinforcing the common values and objectives that connect our organizations. One of our goals for the next triennial will be to activate new partnerships between CIMAM and ICOM’s network of International Committees and Affiliated Organizations.

I am thrilled to be the first non-European President in the history of CIMAM. This is a reflection and expectation of the fact that CIMAM should be a truly global organization of modern and contemporary art museum professionals across the world.

I would like to finish by thanking again Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, and her team for the energy and dedication to make this conference a success and the many individuals and institutions that made possible the CIMAM 2019 Annual Conference and post-tour to Brisbane & North Stradbroke Island. I am also deeply grateful to the travel grant funders that generously supported the attendance of 24 young professionals and the dozens of international participants who traveled from all over the world to Sydney to take part in this important meeting.

The members of the board and I are all very much looking forward to developing further CIMAM’s network and leadership role in promoting good practices in the modern and contemporary art museum profession. Our members are our essence and I hope we can count on their involvement to continue building a strong CIMAM that can lead the discussions and provide new perspectives to answer to the challenges that museums are and will be facing in the years to come.

I look forward to welcoming you all to Łódź and Gdańsk in Poland in November 2020.

Best wishes,

Mami Kataoka
President of CIMAM
Director, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Thursday, December 5, 2019