Museums from the Inside. 60 years of CIMAM


On July 5, 1962, the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM) was founded by 23 European members at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague (The Netherlands) under the original French acronym CIMAM – Comité de l'ICOM pour les Musées d'Art Moderne (ICOM Committee for Museums of Modern Art).

Sixty years later, this organization celebrates its anniversary with the publication of this book, in which Saskia Bos has conducted extensive research on the 60-year history of CIMAM, highlighting the historical context, the actors, and the most relevant topics discussed during the first half of the 53 editions of the CIMAM Annual Conferences. Mami Kataoka has analyzed and commented on the last 30 years highlighting how CIMAM has become a truly global international committee. This research, accompanied by a series of 21 interviews with former board chairs, donors, and curators, is now available on Hatje Cantz website.

CIMAM members can purchase the book directly through the office at a special price of €20 + shipping expenses. If you are interested, please contact:

CIMAM is grateful for the support received by ”la Caixa” Foundation towards the production of this book.

Foreword by Mami Kataoka

The first CIMAM (International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art) Annual Conference took place on July 5, 1962 in The Hague, the Netherlands, as one of the International Committees of ICOM (the International Council of Museums). Since then, the Committee has held over 50 conferences that have been celebrated in over 30 different cities around the globe. CIMAM’s Annual Conference has become an important meeting point for modern and contemporary art professionals, and an essential resource for the collaboration between museums, visual art professionals, artists, and other institutions concerned with modern and contemporary art. During the past 60 years, CIMAM has grown to become a truly global membership organization, and we are expecting more than 700 members from 84 countries at the end of the 2020-2022 term.

This publication Museums from the Inside: 60 Years of CIMAM was produced to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the organization with everyone who has been a part of its history and existence, while going beyond a celebration in order to share our history with new members and envisioning the coming years. CIMAM now stands on the accumulated visions and energy of so many museum directors and professionals over generations who had come together to exchange ideas, and to discuss with other members the urgent issues of the day within the changing museum environment. I am extremely gratified to see its development over the years. In 2015, CIMAM’s status changed from being an ICOM International Committee to an Affiliated Organization. However, despite having gained independence in terms of finance and organizational management, which I believe is a more sustainable model, our activities continue to follow ICOM’s Code of Ethics and we share urgent global issues concerning museums with other ICOM Committees.

For this publication, we have invited 13 former Chairs and Secretary-Treasurers of CIMAM to share the experiences and arguments of their time. We have also invited our most generous sponsors, formerly part of the Board and more recent sponsors as well as travel grant funders who have made it possible to bring diverse groups of members from afar that could not otherwise have attended our annual conferences. Here, too, you will find the voices of various artists who have always been instrumental to our discussions, together with the diverse perspectives of scholars, historians, and philosophers who have broadened our views of the world in terms of time and space. I would like to express my heartful appreciation to everyone who has contributed to this publication – including those CIMAM members who shared with us their photographic archives.

Despite the unprecedented pandemic, wars, and rapid climate changes of recent years, CIMAM has increased its membership by 16 %. This demonstrates the extent to which, while living in a time when the role of Museums of Modern and Contemporary Art in our society is being questioned more than ever, there exists both a need and a desire to listen to other voices, to discuss together, and to learn from each other. By reading through the history of CIMAM, I hope we can also shed light on our path toward the future.

Lastly, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the members of the Board for their commitment, particularly Saskia Bos who has led the 60th Anniversary Working Group together with Suhanya Raffel and Malgorzata Ludwisiak, as well as our Executive Office members, Inés Jover, Susana Carnicero, and Mireia Azuara, whose engagement and research made this publication possible. Our sincere thanks also to La Caixa for their contribution to the catalogue, their support of CIMAM started with María de Corral, former Head of Exhibitions at “la Caixa” Foundation.

Mami Kataoka
President CIMAM 2020–22


Coordinating Editor: Saskia Bos

Editorial Team: Mami Kataoka, Suhanya Raffel, Malgorzata Ludwisiak, Eugene Tan, Victoria Noorthoorn, and Agustín Pérez Rubio.

Authors: Tuula Arkio, Zdenka Badovinac, Manuel J. Borja-Villel, Saskia Bos, Tania Bruguera, Maria de Corral, David Elliott, Wesley Enoch, Patrick Flores, Rudi Fuchs, Marc and Josée Gensollen, Olle Granath, Toshio Hara, Geeta Kapur, Mami Kataoka, Marysia Lewandowska, Ken Lum, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, Bartomeu Marí, Ngahiraka Mason, Ivo Mesquita, Walter Mignolo, Ahmet Ögut, Alfred Pacquement, Suzanne Pagé, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Margit Rowell, Rana Sadik, Donna de Salvo, Patricia Sloane, Slavs and Tatars, Hilke Wagner, and Joan Weinstein.

Executive Project Team: Inés Jover, Susana Carnicero and Mireia Azuara

Copyediting: Keith Patrick

Translations: Maite Lorés

Graphic Design: Rogier Delfos

Photo Research and contributions: Florent Bex, Mati Cuenca, Natasha Sidharta, Rosa Maria Subirana, Toshio Hara, Ulrike Groos, Inés Jover and Susana Carnicero.

Special thanks to: David Elliott, Oxford; Agnès Roche of ICOM Secretariat Paris.

Supported by ”la Caixa” Foundation

Dimensions: 140x190mm
Retail price: 22.00€
Format: Soft cover
Binding: Perfect bound
Image count: 39
Printed in: Estonia
Publication month: November 2022
Paper: Holmen Book 70gm2 and Kaskad Owl Grey 80gm2, Sirio Color Bruno 115gm2, Gloss 100gm2.

Published by CIMAM
C/ Sant Adrià, 20
08030 Barcelona
An Affiliated Organization of ICOM – International Council of Museums.

Distributed by Hatje Cantz
Mommsenstraße 27
10629 Berlin
A Ganske Publishing Group Company

ISBN: 978-3-7757-5442-2

Photo Credits: Ron Amstutz, Jodie Baker, Flor and Lieve Bex, David Elliott, Elke Estel, Toshio Hara, HAWA, Oliver Killig.Hans-Peter Klut, David Pinzer, MOCA Shanghai, Rosa Maria Subirana.

All efforts were made to identify the persons in the photographs. In the case of queries, please contact

Logos: Hatje Cantz, “la Caixa” Foundation, CIMAM

© CIMAM International Committee of Museums and Collections of Modern Art