Museum Directors Condemn the Removal of CAPC Bordeaux Director

An open letter in support of the soon to be ousted curator María Inés Rodríguez has been signed by more than 50 prominent art professionals


María Inés Rodríguez. Courtesy: Libération; photograph: Pierre Wetzel

María Inés Rodríguez. Courtesy: Libération, photograph: Pierre Wetzel

On 8 March, International Women's Day, we learned through the press that María Inés Rodríguez will soon be evicted from her post as Director of the CAPC, Museum of Contemporary Art of 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 programme, and the quality of her exhibitions.

María Inés Rodríguez brought fresh, new energy to the CAPC, with retrospectives devoted to Beatriz Gonzalez, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Judy Chicago and Franz Erhard Walther, winner of the Golden Lion at the 57th Venice Biennale, 2017. She has highlighted the collection in unprecedented ways and has made it permanently visible to the public. Since she was hired in 2013, she has 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 letter, we assert our attachment to the CAPC and to the programme 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
Max Andrews, Co-Founder, Latitudes, Barcelona
Magalí Arriola, Curator, Kadist Foundation, San Francisco
Xabier Arakistain, Independent Curator, Bilbao
Leonor Antunes, Artist
Tarek Atoui, Artist
Rosa Barba, Artist
Véronique Bacchetta, Director, Centre d'édition contemporaine, Geneva
Virginie Bobin, Independent Curator, Paris
Christian Boltanski, Artist
Marie-Laure Bernadac, Independent Curator, Paris
Etienne Bernard, Director, Passerelle Centre d'art contemporain, Brest
Nicolas Bourriaud, Director, Montpellier Contemporain (MoCo)
Lionel Bovier, Director, Mamco, Genève
Caroline Bourgeois, Curator, Collection Pinault, Paris
Mariana Cánepa Luna, Co-Founder, Latitudes, Barcelona
Grégory Castéra, Co-Director, Council, Paris
Aurore Claverie, Artistic Director, La Métive
Chantal Crousel, Director, Chantal Crousel Galerie, Paris
Anne Davidian, Independent Curator
Florence Derieux, Curator, New York
Anne Dressen, Curator, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
Patricia Falguières, Professor, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris
Xavier Franceschi, Director, FRAC Île-de-France, Paris
Elena Filipovic, Director, Kunsthalle Basel
Juan Gaitan, Director, Museo Tamayo, Mexico
Katya García-Antón, Director, OCA, Oslo
Fernando Garcia Dory, Artist
Marta Gili, Director, Jeu de Paume, Paris
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Artist, Paris
Catherine Grenier, Director, Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris
Krist Gruijthuijsen, Director, Kunst-Werke, Berlin
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
Laura Huertas Millán, Artist
Béatrice Josse, Director, Magasin des horizons, Grenoble
Evelyne Jouanno, Director, Ars Citizen, San Francisco
Emma Lavigne, Director, Centre Pompidou-Metz
Elisabeth Lebovici, Art Critic, Paris
Pablo Leon de la Barra, Curator, Latin America, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, New York
Claire Le Restif, Director, Centre d'art contemporain d'Ivry-le Crédac
Marcella Lista, Curator, Centre Pompidou - Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, Paris
Catalina Lozano, Associate Curator, Museo Jumex, Mexico City
Eric Mangion, Director, Centre d'art de la Villa Arson, Nice
Ramiro Martinez, Director, Museo Ampara, Puebla
Jean-Charles Massera, Artist and Writer
Ute Meta Bauer, Director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore
Olivier Michelon, Curator
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)
Frances Morris, Director, Tate Modern, London
Claire Moulène, Curator, Palais de Tokyo, Paris
Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Director, Serpentine Galleries, London
Chiara Parisi, Curator, Villa Medici, Rome
Sandra Patron, Director, Musée régional d'art contemporain Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée
Adriano Pedrosa, Artistic Director, MASP, Museu de Arte, São Paulo
Agustin Pérez Rubio, Artistic Director, MALBA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Independent Curator, Paris
Jean Marc Prévost, Director, Carré d'Art, Musée d'art contemporain de Nîmes
François Quintin, Executive Director, Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Paris
Valentin Rodriguez, Director of Collections, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse
Vivian Sky Rehberg, Contributing Editor frieze and Director, Master Fine Art, Zwart Institute, Rotterdam
Annabelle Teneze, Director, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse
Sandra Terdjman, Co-Founder, Kadist, Council, Paris
Mathilde Villeneuve, Co-Director, Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers
Danh Vō, Artist
Benjamin Weil, Artistic Director, Centro Botin, Santander
Giovanna Zapperi, Professor, Tours University
Octavio Zaya, Art Critic and Independent Curator, New York

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