Affirming the Social Value of Museums

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Affirming the Social Value of Museums

Thursday 29 April 2021, 8:00 am EDT.

For years, museums have talked about their indispensability to society. Yet during the pandemic, most were closed for extended periods of time. Why is it that museums were not considered essential enough to keep open during the pandemic? And now that Covid-19 may be drawing to a close, how can museums make a stronger case for their indispensability? What are the best arguments for keeping museums open and operational?

On the heels of CIMAM’s recent survey titled Why should museums remain open and operational? and Szántó’s latest book, The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues, New York-based author and cultural strategy adviser András Szántó moderates a discussion between four prominent members of CIMAM, all of whom are featured in the book.

  • Rhana Devenport, Director, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.
  • Mami Kataoka, Director, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London, United Kingdom.
  • Philip Tinari, Director, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, China.

New York 8:00 AM EDT Eastern Daylight Time
London 13:00 BST British Summer Time
Amsterdam 14:00 CEST Central European Summer Time
Beijing 20:00 CST China Standard Time
Tokyo 21:00 JST Japan Standard Time
Adelaide 21:30 ACST Australia Central Standard Time


- Rhana Devenport, Director, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.

Rhana Devenport ONZM is Director of Art Gallery of South Australia, and previously led Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, (2013-2018) and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre, (2006-2013), both in Aotearoa New Zealand. Devenport is a curator, writer and cultural producer whose career spans art museums, biennales and arts festivals. Her curatorial focus is contemporary art of Asia and the Pacific, time-based media and social practice. In 2017 Devenport was curator for the New Zealand Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia for ‘Lisa Reihana: Emissaries'. She has curated projects with Lee Mingwei, Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Yin Xiuzhen, Song Dong, Nalini Malani, Fiona Pardington, and Nam June Paik. From 1994 to 2004 she was Senior Project Officer, Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery. In 2018 she was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. She is a Board Member of CIMAM.

- Mami Kataoka, Director, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan.

Kataoka was Chief Curator at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (1997-2002) prior to the Mori Art Museum (2003-) where she holds the current position since 2020. Kataoka was also International Curator at the Hayward Gallery, London (2007-2009); Co-Artistic Director for the 9th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2012); Artistic Director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018); and Artistic Director of the Aichi Triennale 2022. She has been serving as a Board Member of CIMAM [International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art] (2014-) and currently the President of CIMAM 2020-2022. Board Member of the Japanese National Committee for ICOM; Chair of Contemporary Art Committee Japan, Art Platform Japan [Initiative by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan] and Member of AICA [International Association of Art Critics]. Visiting Professor at Kyoto University of the Arts Graduate School; Visiting Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts’ Faculty of Fine Arts, Graduate School of Fine Arts. Kataoka frequently writes, lectures, and juries on contemporary art from Japan, Asia and beyond.

- Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London, United Kingdom.

Hans Ulrich Obrist (b. 1968 in Zurich, CH) is Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries in London. Prior to this, he was the Curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show “World Soup” (The Kitchen Show) in 1991 he has curated more than 300 shows.

In 2011 Obrist received the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence, in 2015 he was awarded the International Folkwang Prize, and in 2018 he was presented with the Award for Excellence in the Arts by the Appraisers Association of America. Obrist has lectured internationally at academic and art institutions, and is contributing editor to several magazines and journals.

- Philip Tinari, Director, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, China. CEO, UCCA Group

Since coming to UCCA in 2011, Philip Tinari has led its transformation from a founder-owned private museum into an accredited museum across multiple locations, a public foundation, and a family of art-driven enterprises. During his tenure, UCCA has mounted more than seventy exhibitions and thousands of public programs, bringing artistic voices established and emerging, Chinese and international, to an audience of over a million visitors each year. From 2009 to 2012 he founded and edited LEAP, the first internationally distributed, bilingual magazine of contemporary art in China. He is a contributing editor of Artforum, and launched the magazine’s Chinese edition in 2008. Having written extensively on contemporary art in China, he was co-curator of the 2017 exhibition Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Based in Beijing since 2001 and fluent in Mandarin, Tinari is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a fellow of the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on US-China Relations. He holds degrees from Duke and Harvard.

Thursday 29 April 2021, 8:00 am EDT.

This workshop will last approximately 45 minutes followed by Q&A and a discussion of another 45 minutes.

Rapid Response Webinars are free of cost for CIMAM members.

Non-Members can attend paying 10,00€ that will be deducted from their membership fee if they join CIMAM in the next 3 months.

Payment methods:

This session will be recorded and posted at CIMAM’s Only Members section. We may use still images of the recording for CIMAM’s promotional purposes. If you’d rather not appear on that snapshot, please let us know in advance.

About CIMAM’s Rapid Response Webinars

Started in 2020, CIMAM has taken the new virtual scenario as an opportunity to launch a series of online activities exclusively for our community to, now more than ever, reinforce the sense of connectivity through online meetings in a peer to peer environment to share, learn, and be inspired by the experiences of other CIMAM professionals.

For 2021, we have prepared a series of online sessions that will take place, nearly every month of the year. The next ones are:

  • Thursday 13 May 2021: Workshop with the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC).
  • Thursday 27 May 2021: Webinar hosted by the Museum Watch Committee about Governance.
  • Thursday 17 June 2021: Webinar hosted by CIMAM Conference Contents Committee: Museums in Eastern Europe Under Pressure?
  • Thursday 22 July 2021: Workshop with the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC).
  • Thursday 30 September 2021: Webinar hosted by the CIMAM working group on Sustainability and Ecology in Museum Practice.

More webinars to be announced soon.

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