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Making a Museum in the 21st Century

Making a Museum in the Twenty-first Century contains transcriptions of selected discussions and speeches from the inaugural Asia Society Arts & Museum Summit held in Hong Kong in 2013. These include keynote addresses by Glenn Lowry, who assessed significant issues that museums face in a changing environment, and Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, whose presentation was based on his 2011 publication in Japanese, Sense of Space, a critical review of museum buildings from an artist’s perspective. 

Making a Museum in the 21st Century will be available in the United States in January 2015. The publication has been made possible with the support of H2 Foundation for Arts and Education, Hallam Chow, and Fanzhi Foundation for Arts and Education.

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Contributors

David Adjaye OBE, Principal Architect of Adjaye Associates, is one of the leading architects of his generation. Described as an architect with an artist’s sensibility, he is known for his ingenious use of materials and showcasing of light, which have defined his work since he established his practice in 2000. Born in Tanzania in 1966, he lived in a number of different cities across Africa before settling in London at the age of thirteen. His diverse projects span private houses, exhibition spaces, major arts centers, and important public buildings across Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Completed civic works include two neighborhood libraries in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. His largest commission to date is the project to design the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., currently under construction. Other projects include the Sugar Hill social housing scheme in Harlem, New York; a mixed-use retail and arts complex in Beirut, and a concept store in Lagos, Nigeria. Notable collaborations with artists include Olafur Eliasson’s Your Black Horizon light installation at the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005 and Chris Offili’s The Upper Room in Tate Britain’s permanent collection. A more recent research project culminated in the 2010 exhibition Urban Africa: David Adjaye’s Photographic Survey, a unique geo-cultural catalogue profiling African cities in a global context. He has held teaching positions in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the Architectural Association, the Royal College of Art, and Princeton University School of Architecture. Adjaye is a RIBA chartered member, an AIA honorary fellow, a senior fellow of the Design Futures Council, and a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was awarded the OBE for services to architecture in 2007. He gained a B.Arch. from London South Bank University and received a Master’s degree in architecture from the Royal College of Art in 1993, where he won the RIBA Bronze Medal. 

Rustom Bharucha is the author of several books, including Theatre and the World (1990), The Question of Faith (1993), In the Name of the Secular (1998), The Politics of Cultural Practice (2000), Rajasthan: An Oral History (2003), Another Asia: Rabindranath Tagore and Okakura Tenshin (2006), and, most recently, Terror and Performance (2014). He was the project director of Ama-Jhama: The Desert Museum of Rajasthan, the artistic director of two Ramayana festivals at the Adishakti Theatre Laboratory in Pondicherry, and the dramaturge of Tangencya, a public art project in South Africa focusing on the politics of touch. A leading exponent of interculturalism, he has conducted workshops with marginalized communities in the Philippines, India, South Africa, and Brazil, and was an advisor to the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development in the Netherlands. He is a professor of theater and performance studies in the School of Arts and Aesthetics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India.

Janet Carding, director and CEO of Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), previously held the position of assistant director, public programs and operations at the Australian Museum, Sydney, and was a leading contributor to the revitalization project of Australia’s preeminent museum of nature and culture. Her career in museology began at the Science Museum, London, where she managed the construction of its Wellcome Wing extension. She was later appointed head of planning and development for the National Museum of Science and Industry (NMSI), leading strategic planning and projects for NMSI’s three museums. In addition, Carding taught museum and gallery administration at the University of Sydney. A museum professional for more than two decades, Carding is originally from England, where she received a degree in history and philosophy of science from Cambridge University and an MA from the University of London in history of science. She is an adjunct professor in museum studies at the University of Toronto, and a member of the Toronto Arts Council Board.

Melissa Chiu is director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Previously she was director of Asia Society Museum in New York and senior vice president for global arts and cultural programs for the Society’s eleven centers and affiliates in the United States and Asia, including new cultural centers in Hong Kong and Houston. During her thirteen-year tenure at Asia Society, Chiu negotiated international first-time loan exhibitions with a number of foreign governments, including Vietnam, Pakistan, and Myanmar (Burma), in addition to establishing the U.S.-China Museum Leaders Forum with the aim to improve cultural relations through museum partnerships. In 2007 she launched a contemporary art collection with a focus on photography and video to complement the museum’s renowned collection of traditional Asian art, gifted to the Society in 1978 by Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd. As a leading authority on contemporary art, she has curated more than thirty exhibitions, including major monographic surveys of the works of Zhang Huan and Yoshitomo Nara, and a historical exhibition of art from China’s Cultural Revolution (“Art and China’s Revolution,” 2008), all accompanied by comprehensive books on the subject. She has written and edited scholarly publications such as Asian Contemporary Art (Thames and Hudson), and an anthology of collected writings titled Contemporary Art in Asia: A Critical Reader (MIT Press).

Caroline Collier, director of Tate National, is responsible for several departments at Tate, including learning, research, collection care, and Tate’s galleries in Liverpool and St Ives. She also oversees Tate’s national and international partnerships. She has more than thirty years of professional experience in the field of visual arts. She joined Tate in October 2005 as head of national initiatives, from Arnolfini, the contemporary arts organization in Bristol, where she had been director since 1999. Before that she was at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex, where she was responsible for the pavilion’s arts and restoration programs between 1995 and 1999. She previously worked as a curator and freelance writer. Until June 2013 she was a board member of Arts Council England and chair of the South East Regional Arts Council.

Clémentine Deliss is a curator, publisher, and researcher, and director of the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt am Main. Selected exhibitions curated by Deliss include “Foreign Exchange (or the stories you wouldn’t tell a stranger)” cocurated with Yvette Mutumba, Weltkulturen Museum, 2014; “Object Atlas—Fieldwork in the Museum,” Weltkulturen Museum, 2012; “Dragged down into Lower Case” cocurated with Oscar Tuazon, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, 2008; “Future Academy” cocurated with Masato Nakamura, Kandada/Command N Project Collective, Tokyo, 2007; “Think with Your Feet,” Command N Gallery, Tokyo, 2007; “Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa,” Whitechapel Gallery, London, 1995, and Konsthalle Malmö, 1996; “Lotte or the Transformation of the Object,” Styrian Autumn Festival, Graz, and Akademie der bildende Künste Wien, 1990; “Exotic Europeans,” National Touring Exhibitions, Hayward Gallery, London, 1990–91. From 2002 to 2009 she directed the international research lab Future Academy, which investigated the global future of independent artistic research and production. In 1996, she developed and produced eleven issues of the international writers’ and artists’ organ Metronome, presented at Documenta 10 and Documenta 12, and at numerous galleries and events. Deliss has acted as a consultant to the European Union and has held guest professorships at the Städelschule in Frankfurt and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo. From 1992 to 1995, she was the artistic director of africa95, an artist-led festival of new work in all media from Africa and the diaspora, spearheaded by the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Deliss studied contemporary art and social anthropology in Vienna, London, and Paris, and holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 

Adam Lerner is the director and chief animator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver). In 2004, he founded the Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar, or the Lab, to explore the changing nature of art and museums. In 2009, the Lab merged with MCA Denver when Lerner took the helm of the museum. Lerner’s programs have been adopted by museums throughout North America, and a recent article in The New York Times stated that Lerner’s work to engage audiences is “reshaping what has become a stale model for a contemporary art museum.” Lerner was formerly the master teacher for modern and contemporary art at the Denver Art Museum and curator at the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore. Lerner earned his PhD from the Johns Hopkins University and his Masters degree from Cambridge University. His recently released books, From Russia With Doubt: The Quest to Authenticate 181 Would-be Masterpieces of the Russian Avant-Garde (2013) and Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia (2014) are both published by Princeton Architectural Press.

Glenn D. Lowry, director of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, leads a staff of 760 people and directs an active program of exhibitions, acquisitions, and publications. The sixth director of the museum and a strong advocate of contemporary art, he has lectured and written extensively in support of contemporary art and artists, and the role of museums in society, among other topics. Lowry is a member of the Mori Art Museum international advisory committee and the Istanbul Modern international advisory board. He is also a steering committee member for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Arts and Letters. Born in New York City and raised in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Lowry received a BA magna cum laude from Williams College, and an MA and PhD in history of art from Harvard University.

Sophie Makariou, president of the Musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet, was head of the department of Near Eastern antiquities at the Louvre for more than ten years before her appointment to the Guimet in 2013. During her tenure at the Louvre, she oversaw the institution’s first multimedia encyclopedia of Islamic art. Her focus at the Guimet has been on forging partnerships among French and foreign research institutions to promote exchange among scholars using various research approaches in a wide range of creative genres, such as contemporary Asian art. She is especially interested in sharing knowledge about vital parts of global culture. She has been the curator of various exhibitions in France and abroad. Makariou studied history at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, where she received an MA. She was trained as an art historian in Islamic art at the École du Louvre, and as a curator at the National Institute of Heritage, Paris. She is a former student in Arabic studies at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations, Paris (INALCO). 

Jessica Morgan, the Daskalopoulos curator of international art at Tate Modern, is the artistic director of the 10th Gwangju Biennale, 2014. She is the curator of the forthcoming exhibitions “The World Goes Pop,” 2015, and “Bhupen Kharkhar,” 2016, at Tate Modern. Morgan has been the curator of numerous significant exhibitions, including the retrospective “Saloua Raouda Choucair,” 2013; the first survey exhibition of the work of Urs Fischer at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2013; “Gabriel Orozco,” 2011; “John Baldessari: Pure Beauty,” 2009; and “Martin Kippenberger,” 2006. In addition, she has been the curator of such group exhibitions as “The World as a Stage,” 2007, and the first Reykjavik Art Festival in Iceland, 2005. She is a nominator for the Rockefeller Bellagio Creative Arts Fellowship, and on the advisory committee for the Jumex Collection, Mexico. In 2013, Morgan was president of the jury of the Venice Biennale. She serves on the board of trustees of Chisenhale Gallery, London; Sammlung Verbund, Vienna; and Saradar Foundation, Beirut. She has published and lectured extensively on contemporary art, and her essays appear in many exhibition and museum catalogues, and in such art journals as Parkett and Artforum.

Hammad Nasar, head of research and programs at Asia Art Archive, began his tenure there in Hong Kong in September 2012. Previously, he was curatorial director of the London-based arts organization Green Cardamom, which he cofounded. He was a fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme, a research fellow at Goldsmiths College, London, and arts director for the Festival of Muslim Cultures in the United Kingdom, 2006–2007. Nasar has worked extensively as a curator and cocurator on a number of projects, including “Karkhana: A Contemporary Collaboration” at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut, and the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, 2005–2007; “Safavids Revisited” at the British Museum, London, 2009; “Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh” at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, 2010; “Beyond the Page: Miniature as Attitude in Contemporary Art from Pakistan” at the Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, 2010; and “Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space” at the Johnson Museum at Cornell University, 2012, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, 2013. Prior to entering the art world, Nasar worked as a management consultant and banker.

Lars Nittve, executive director at M+, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong, previously was director of Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2001–2010, where he led a successful campaign to strengthen the collection, with a focus on works by women artists. He also opened the Renzo Piano-designed Pontus Hultén Study Gallery in 2008 and the Moderna Museet Malmö in 2009. He was the first director of Tate Modern, London, 1998–2001, director of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark, 1995–1998, and the founding director of Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art in Malmö, Sweden, 1990–1995. In 1986, Nittve was appointed chief curator at the Moderna Museet, where he organized a large number of high-profile exhibitions. He holds a BA from Stockholm School of Economics and an MA from Stockholm University, where he later served as lecturer in art history, 1978–1985. Nittve was also the senior art critic at the daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in Stockholm and a regular contributor to Artforum.

Ou Ning is a cross-disciplinary writer and curator. He lives and works in Bishan Village, Anhui Province, where in 2011 he founded Bishan Commune, an intellectual group devoted to the rural reconstruction movement in China. As a publisher, he is known for the seminal books South of Southern: Space, Geography, History and the Biennale (2014); New Sound of Beijing (1997); Liu Xiaodong’s Hotan Project and Xinjiang Research (Best Book Design from All Over the World, Leipzig Book Fair, 2014); The Chinese Thinking: Rem Koolhaas and Hans Ulrich Obrist Interviewed China’s Leading Figures (2012); Odyssey: Architecture and Literature (Best Book Design from All Over the World, Leipzig Book Fair, 2010); and the literary bimonthly journal Chutzpah! (2011–2014). He cocurated Liu Xiaodong’s Hotan Project with Hou Hanru in 2012 and 2013, and “The Solutions: Design and Social Engineering” for the 2011 Chengdu Biennale. He was the chief curator of the 2009 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture, and in 2006 curated the sound project Awakening Battersea as part of the “China Power Station” exhibitions co-organized by the Serpentine Gallery, London, and the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo. He also initiated the art and design biennial “Get It Louder,” held in 2005, 2007, and 2010. As artist and filmmaker, Ou is known for urban research and documentary projects such as Meishi Street (2006), commissioned by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes, and San Yuan Li (2003), commissioned by the 50th Venice Biennale. He is a frequent contributor to magazines, books, and exhibition catalogues, and has lectured around the world. He was a jury member for the Debut Award at the Lisbon Architecture Triennale, 2013; the 22nd African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival, Milan, 2012; the 8th Benesse Prize at the 53rd Venice Biennale, 2009; and the Yokohama International Media Art Festival, 2009. He served as a member of the Asian Art Council at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 2011.

Walid Raad is an artist and an associate professor of art at the Cooper Union, New York. Raad’s works include The Atlas Group (1989–2004), a fifteen-year project about the contemporary history of Lebanon, and the ongoing projects Scratching on Things I Could Disavow: A History of Art in the Arab World and Sweet Talk: Commissions (Beirut). His published works include The Truth Will Be Known When the Last Witness is Dead (2004), My Neck Is Thinner Than A Hair (2004), Let’s Be Honest, the Weather Helped (1998), and Scratching on Things I Could Disavow (2008). Raad’s work has been shown at the Louvre, Paris; Documenta 11 and Documenta 13, Kassel; Kunsthalle Zurich; the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; Festival d’Automne, Paris; Kunsten Festival des Arts, Brussels; the Venice Biennale; the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Homeworks, Beirut; and numerous other museums and venues in Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. Raad is the recipient of the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, 2011; a Guggenheim Fellowship, 2009; the Alpert Award in Visual Arts, 2007; the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, 2007; and the Camera Austria Award, 2005.

Hiroshi Sugimoto is a contemporary artist. Born in Tokyo, he moved to the United States in 1970 to study photography. A multidisciplinary artist working in photography, sculpture, installation, and architecture, he deals with history and temporal existence by investigating a variety of subject matter surrounding time, empiricism, and metaphysics. His art bridges eastern and western ideologies while examining the nature of time, perception, and the origins of consciousness. His work is in the collections of Tate, London; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, among others. His achievement is celebrated by many internationally renowned awards, including the Praemium Imperiale in Painting, 2009, from the Japan Arts Association; the Photo España award, 2006; and the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, 2001. His solo exhibition, “Portraits,” initially conceived for the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, traveled to the Guggenheim Bilbao in 2000 and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 2001. In 2006, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., and the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, co-organized his mid-career retrospective. Kuukankan, a collection of photographs and essays on architecture by Sugimoto, was published by Magazine House Ltd., Tokyo, in 2011.

Wang Chunchen, head of the curatorial research department at CAFA Art Museum at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, is an adjunct curator of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum of Michigan State University. In 2013, he was appointed curator of the Chinese Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. He is also deputy principal editor of the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art in the United Kingdom, and editor-in-chief for the Chinese Contemporary Ink Art series published by Springer-Verlag, Germany. In 2009, Wang was honored with the coveted Chinese Contemporary Art Award. One of the most sought-after curators of Chinese contemporary art, his curatorial projects include “Re-China: As a Cultural Concept,” Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, 2014; “Transfiguration: The Presence of Chinese Artistic Methods in Venice,” Venice, 2013; “Sub-Phenomena: A Report of the State of Young Chinese Artists,” CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, 2012; and “Supernatural – China’s Photography in the New Century,” ArtGate Gallery, New York, 2008, among others. Wang has also translated many publications on art history and theory, further establishing his influence on Chinese contemporary art criticism. In 2013, he published two collections of essays, The Democracy of Art and The Politics of Images.