We are pleased to announce Simon Mordant as a new Supporter of CIMAM
Simon Mordant, Executive Co Chairman and founder of Luminis Partners in affiliation with Evercore, became a Supporter of CIMAM, in February 2023.
Your professional experience spans both business advisory and the arts. When and why did you start working with the world of arts and culture?
I started collecting art over 40 years ago, a passion I share with my wife, Catriona.
My professional life and my life in the arts are about creativity- my work requires us to seek creative and innovative solutions.
I find that surrounding myself with extraordinary talent from the visual and performing arts stimulates my mind and challenges me.
I do not see this as two lives but rather one.
I first got involved in arts Boards 35 years ago and loved working with extraordinary leadership teams to help achieve their ambitions. This is the type of work I also do professionally.
Your involvement in the art world is impressive. As a passionate contemporary art collector, what led you to embrace philanthropy and contribute to the sector?
We have been very fortunate in business. We are on the planet for a short time and can all leave the earth in a better place than we found it. We have loved helping organizations meet their ambitions and immensely enjoy working with passionate leadership teams.
We are very engaged philanthropists and have enjoyed every moment of our journey. We have met incredible people and enjoyed working with great organizations.
In 2007, you were appointed Chair of the MCA Australia's Foundation, spearheading a major capital campaign for its redevelopment. Could you share some highlights from that experience?
When I migrated to Australia in 1983, I was surprised that no institution focused on Contemporary Art. My wife and I were original founding donors who made a $1000 donation to help start the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.
I subsequently joined the board and was involved in recruiting the visionary new Director, Liz Ann MacGregor.
She had a very ambitious strategy, and we wanted to help her achieve it. When we started with the Museum, I never imagined I would lead the campaign with a $15 m donation and subsequently become the Chair for ten years, and I am now their International Ambassador.
As the inaugural international ambassador for MCA Australia, what responsibilities does this position entail, and what impact have you sought to achieve?
I see my role as championing the work of the Museum internationally. I am particularly proud of the unique partnership with Tate to jointly acquire Australian contemporary art and the role Tate has played in championing First Nations artists.
I am passionate about seeing Australian contemporary artists displayed internationally alongside their global peers.
You have received several prestigious awards, such as the Order of the Star of Italy (Cavaliere dell' Ordine della Stella d'Italia), and have been appointed Officer of the General Division of the Order of Australia for your services to the visual arts nationally and internationally, to emerging artists and philanthropy. How do these recognitions inspire and motivate you to continue your work in the arts and cultural diplomacy?
The awards are surprising recognition of our drive and desire to make a difference, and champion causes we love. We continue this work irrespective of the recognition. However, we hope we can also inspire others to join us on this journey
Enterprise Professor at the University of Melbourne's Centre of Visual Arts and as an Adjunct Professor at Universita Cattolica in Milan and Rome for their International Program in Cultural Diplomacy and Masters Program in Cultural Diplomacy: Arts and Digital Media for International Relations and Global Communication. How do these teaching roles enrich your own understanding and shape the future of these fields?
I didn't go to University myself and was very surprised when both institutions approached me. I had never thought about Accademia before, but sharing my life experiences with others, particularly young people, is something I am really enjoying
Looking ahead, what exciting projects or initiatives are you currently involved in or planning to pursue?
I am Deputy Chair of MOMA PS1 in NY and love working with them to help achieve their ambitions with Community and Artists, and I' am excited to work with our new Director, Connie Butler, when she starts later in the year.
I am Vice Chair of the Tate International Council and immensely enjoy working with Maria Balshaw and her team, who are transforming the way institutions can make First Nations artists central to their approach.
I am on the Board of the American Academy in Rome, so I enjoy leaders in the arts and humanities working collaboratively and supporting the opportunity for Australian visual artists to participate in that Community.
At Barangaroo in Sydney, I chair their Public Art Panel for developer Lend Lease which has committed $40m to public art to enliven the Community.
I could go on for ages as I love every organization we support and every leadership team we work with to help achieve their ambitions.
Finally, as a CIMAM Supporter, what projects developed by the international committee dedicated to museums and collections of modern and contemporary art most interest you, and how does it align with your own aspirations and work in the arts?
I have only recently joined CIMAM and am learning about the work the committee is doing globally. In a post-pandemic world, I believe Museums must play a key role in rebuilding their local communities, and I look forward to getting involved in helping Museums deal with some of the challenges of today.
Professor Cav. Simon Mordant AO
Simon specialises in advising local and multinational companies and Government on their capital markets strategy and merger and acquisitions.
Simon has been a practising corporate adviser in Australia since 1984 and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Simon is Executive Co Chairman and founder of Luminis Partners in affiliation with Evercore. He previously co-founded Caliburn Partnership which was sold to Greenhill in 2010 and prior to that was Head of Corporate Finance at BZW Australia and ABN AMRO.
Simon is a passionate collector of contemporary art with a long history of benefaction to the Arts. In 2007 he was appointed Chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation which was re-established to raise funds for the $53 million capital campaign for its redevelopment. For 10 years until 2020 Simon was Chairman of the Board of the MCA Australia and was then appointed the Inaugural International Ambassador.
Simon chairs the NSW Visual Arts Board, is the Vice Chair of MOMA PS1 in New York, a Trustee of the American Academy in Rome, a Trustee on the Council of Marlborough College (UK), Vice Chair of The Tate International Council, a member of the the International Council of Museum of Modern Art in New York, a director of the Garvan Research Foundation, a member of the British Council Italy Cultural Advisory Board, a member of the Advisory Board of Venetian Heritage in Italy, Chair of Lend Lease’s Art Advisory Panel for Barangaroo, a member of The Centre for Independent Studies Board and a Sydney Committee member of Human Rights Watch. He was Australian Commissioner for the 2013 & 2015 Venice Biennale, a director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2012-2017, Deputy President of Takeover Panel 2000-2010, a board member of Opera Australia, Sydney Theatre Company, Bundanon Trust, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Los Angeles and Wharton Executive Board for Asia and a past member of The Ethics Centre Board.
In 2021, Simon was appointed Honorary Consul for the Republic of San Marino in Australia.
In 2020, Simon was knighted in Italy and awarded the Order of the Star of Italy (Cavaliere dell’ Ordine della Stella d’Italia) and was awarded an AO being made an Officer in the General Division of the order of Australia for Distinguished service to the visual arts at a national and international level, to emerging artists, and to philanthropy.
Also in 2020, Simon was appointed Enterprise Professor at the University of Melbourne’s Centre of Visual Arts and as an Adjunct Professor at Universita Cattolica in Milan and Rome for their International Program in Cultural Diplomacy and Masters Program in Cultural Diplomacy: Arts and Digital Media for International Relations and Global Communication.
In 2012, Simon was awarded an AM being made a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia for Services to the Arts and to the cultural environment of Australia through philanthropic and executive roles, and to the community.
In 2010 Simon and his wife Catriona were awarded the Australia Business Arts Foundation’s Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Leadership Award.
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CIMAM – International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art – is an Affiliated Organization of ICOM.* Founded in 1962, CIMAM’s vision is a world where the contribution of museums, collections, and archives of modern and contemporary art to the cultural, social, and economic well-being of society is recognized and respected.