CIMAM 2013 Conference Report

Visit to Anita Schwartz Galeria de Arte, Rio de Janeiro, during CIMAM 2013 Annual Conference.
Visit to Anita Schwartz Galeria de Arte, Rio de Janeiro, during CIMAM 2013 Annual Conference

Dear colleagues and friends,
 
The 2013 CIMAM Annual Conference can be con­sidered one of the most successful in the last decade. In my opinion, both the depth and the precise articulation of the programs were oustand­ing. This was further enhanced by the hospitality and warmth of the organizing institution, the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, MAM, as well as the active participation of all the institu­tions and individuals who provided an exceptional welcome to our organization and its members. Rio de Janeiro is undoubtedly a vital capital for the art of our time, both within South America and the rest of the world.
 
Rio was an opportunity to learn many things. The excellent quality of the presentations delivered by the speakers was particularly relevant through our contact with a metropolis where the differences between those who have and those who don’t, is blatantly visible. And in a world plagued by in­equalities, where in many contexts art is compara­ble with the notion of luxury – or associated with the privilege of wealth – it was essential to be in touch with the power and equality of so many local initiatives which, as of their internal creativity, cross over the boundaries of aesthetics and history, in favor of art as the center of life.
 
We witnessed how art institutions have assumed great responsibility vis á vis the educational pro­cess by working in their immediate social context, but more importantly, we were exposed to the re­ality outside of the institutions, where there is an impressive amount of parallel and extremely relevant independent actions, projects and activities. While the Old World, seems to have reduced art to the realm of seduction and the exclusiveness of its system, the New World seems to be reminding us that the bond between sensibility and intellect should be conceived with the spirit of risk, generosity and the need to share, all of which are the adjectives that we use to describe the art of today.
 
This edition of the annual conference centered on the analysis of the existing and possible relations between the different actors within the museum system (artists, curators, public/audience and governance) who preside over the different mu­seum models that we have created, while we are clearly perceiving and experiencing the transformations of the global economic and cul­tural system. New Dynamics in Museums: Curator, Artwork, Public, Governance constitutes a starting point for a serious discussion and contribution for the promotion of the cultural values of art in open societies.
 
Among the 159 CIMAM delegates, arriving from 49 different countries to attend the conference, CIMAM received 25 travel grantees. This effort has been possible thanks to the enthusiastic sup­port of a close group of institutions who, through their direct contributions, have taken an interest in making our organization more global and demo­cratic. So many thanks for the funds received from the Getty Foundation, Fundación Cisneros/Colec­ción Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, the Fundación Botín, SAHA Association and the British Council.
 
Another highlight of the Annual Conference in Rio was the conclusion of Zdenka Badovinac’s term as CIMAM President. Her extraordinary leadership at the front of our organization was marked by intel­lectual excellence and unique ability to identify and open the discussion to major issues relating to the current state of the museum as a cultural institution within the public mandate. Zdenka be­gan her administration after the Shanghai 2010 meeting, and together we immediately faced the internal re-organization of CIMAM when Pilar Cortada decided to take on new personal chal­lenges, after serving as Executive Director between 2004 and 2011. This was easily and effec­tively resolved, thanks to the relentless and invalu­able support of Inés Jover – our Program Coor­dinator – and to the new impulse, plus diplomatic genius of Jenny Gil, who is our Executive Director since 2011. I wish to make a special acknowledge­ment to Zdenka, with deep admiration for her true generosity, her inspiration and unending in­put, which I am sure is shared by each and every CIMAM Member.
 
The Rio de Janeiro Annual Conference is there­fore the beginning of my three year term as the head of this organization which I have the honor of serving at the height of its history, which now ex­ceeds half a century. I deeply appreciate the sup­port and trust I have received for this election, and I intend to contribute to the expansion of a CIMAM that will continue to be intellectually challenging, as well as thoughtfully independent from any ex­ternal pressures, beyond the norms of our profes­sion – yet more attentive to a changing and often problematic panorama – where art and museums continue to play an essential role. I firmly believe that the debates and proposals of our organization should be known and shared by the governances that I have mentioned, while also reaching the in­tellectual community, and all that may be interest­ed in the relationship between those who create, those who receive and those who wish to shorten the distance between both, in the every day.
 
We also want CIMAM to expand its global bounda­ries, particularly towards Asia – where the gen­eration of cultural institutions in China will lead to the unprecedented emergence of many contem­porary art museums – to continue in Africa and the Middle East. I celebrate the election of this new Board, which combines the experience of the previous members with the impulse of its new constituents, who will surely respond with great creativity, critical spirit and much enthusiasm. I have asked Patricia Sloane, Associate Curator at Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) in Mexico City, to take charge as Secretary-Treas­urer, knowing that her abilities and expertise will be an asset to this period of the CIMAM adminis­tration.
 
One of the priorities for the new CIMAM Board will be the decision of the city and the institution to assume the organization of the 2014 Annual Conference, which we propose should continue to take place in the month of November. We hope to communicate the specific results shortly. As soon as this is decided, we will begin working with the board members towards the making of a quality program of great depth and constant renewal that may be useful to all of us in the practice of our mission.
 
Barcelona, September 2013
Bartomeu Marí, President of CIMAM

Download the full CIMAM Conference Report 2013 containing information about the conference program of sessions and visits, conference delegates, conference budget, travel grantees’ reports and evaluation survey.
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