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Letter of Support for Maria Inés Rodriguez, Director of Musée d’Art Contemporain in Bordeaux


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On March 8, International Women’s Day, we learned through the press that Maria Inés Rodriguez will soon be evicted from her post as Director of the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux. In France, there is a penury of female directors, presidents, and heads of cultural institutions and this announcement marks a further regression in parity in the strikingly masculine French art world.

We are stupefied by the announced dismissal of a consummate professional who is internationally renowned for her curiosity, the pertinence of her curatorial program, and the quality of her exhibitions.

Maria Inés Rodriguez brought fresh, new energy to the CAPC, with retrospectives devoted to Beatriz Gonzalez, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Judy Chicago and Franz Erhard Walther, laureate of the Lion d’Or at the 2017 Venice Biennial. She has highlighted the collection in unprecedented ways and has made it permanently visible to the public. Since she was hired in 2013, she benefited from the ongoing support of the “Friends of the CAPC” and succeeded in developing partnerships and sponsorships, a standard feature of the role of museum directors now that public financing is becoming so rare.

We are troubled by recent statements made by Fabien Robert, Bordeaux’s Deputy Mayor for Culture and Heritage. In an article published in Rue 89 Bordeaux the Deputy Mayor questions openly “whether contemporary art still exists” and asserts he would like to see the CAPC become a publicity showcase for the city. He told Libération that “the CAPC has been a subject of interest,” and that he’s “been visiting the site for months, to do ‘sourcing’ and ‘benchmarking’ in order to define orientations.”

We are arts professionals, we love museums and their publics. For us, transmitting the joy and intelligence of art works to the greatest number of people is a major concern. We are revolted to see that over the years, from one director to another, the same problems occur: constant pressure against the museum leadership, which is caught in the vice of municipal management, a lack of institutional support, and the weakening of financial stability. The CAPC has a prestigious history that matters in the international landscape. It would be a dramatic error to let shortsighted political motivations determine its end-point.

Through this dispatch, we assert our attachment to the CAPC and to the program of its current director. We call upon the French Minister of Culture, Françoise Nyssen, to respond to the situation in Bordeaux, where the survival of contemporary art appears to be at stake.

Nick Aikens, Curator, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
Magali Arriola, Curator, Kadist Foundation, San Francisco
Xabier Arakistain, Independent Cuator, Bilbao
Marie-Laure Bernadac, Independent Cuator, Paris
Caroline Bourgeois, Curator, Collection Pinault, Paris
Anne Davidian, Fondation Evens
Florence Derieux, Director of Exhibitions, Hauser & Wirth, New York
Patricia Falguières, Professor, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris
Elena Filipovic, Director, Kunsthalle Basel
Juan Gaitan, Director Musée Tamayo, Mexico
Katya García-Antón, Director, OCA, Oslo
Marta Gili, Directror, Jeu de Paume, Paris
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Artist, Paris
Hou Hanru, Artistic Director, MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome
Barbara Hernandez, Director, Soma, Mexico
Sofía Hernandez Chong Cuy, Director, Witte de With, Rotterdam
Evelyne Jouanno, Director Ars Citizen, San Francisco
Elisabeth Lebovici, Art Critic, Paris
Pablo Leon de la Barra, Curator, Latin America, Solomon
R Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, New York
Stéphanie Moisdon, co-director, Consortium Contemporary Art Center Dijon and head of the Master Arts Visuels at l’Ecole
cantonale d’art de lausanne (ECAL)
Ramiro Martinez, Director, Museo Ampara, Puebla
Frances Morris, Director, Tate Modern, London
Adriano Pedrosa, Artistic Director, MASP, Museu de Arte, São Paulo
Agustin Pérez Rubio. MALBA Artistic Director, Buenos Aires. Argentina
François Quintin, Deputy Director, Lafayette Anticipations, Paris
Valentin Rodriguez, Director of Collections, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse
Ute Meta Bauer, Director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore
Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Independent Curator, Paris
Krist Gruijthuijsen, Director, Kunst-Werke, Berlin
Octavio Zaya, Art Critic and Independent Curator, New York
Vivian Sky Rehberg, Contributing Editor “frieze” and director Master Fine Art, Zwart Institute, Rotterdam
Annabelle Teneze, Director, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse
Sandra Terdjman, Co-director, Council, Paris
Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Directeur Serpentine Gallery, London
Giovanna Zapperi, Professeur, Tours University