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

Most Read

The museum cited ‘creative differences’ for her departure but former colleagues suggest problematic management on her...
At a time of rising xenophobia and precarity, former Queens Museum director Laura Raicovich on why arts institutions...
What Nan Goldin’s protesting of the Sacklers’s complicity in the US opioid crisis tells us about self-deification...
With the 2018 Sydney Biennale opening this week, a guide to the best gallery and museum shows to see around the city
The artist says his Chicago sculpture Cloud Gate was appropriated for an NRA advertisement without permission; condemns...
In further news: Marina Abramović working on an opera; director of Ghent museum suspended after show including...
An open letter in support of the soon to be ousted curator María Inés Rodríguez has been signed by more than 50...
From Ragnar Kjartansson’s Italo-pop-infused The Sky in a Room to Matt Stokes’s happy hardcore recitals: the organ’...
Tate’s artist in residence Liv Wynter calls director Maria Balshaw’s comments on harassment a ‘slap in the face’
Changing shapes and sizes on stage is a good move, but a complicated one
Remembering the avant-garde filmmaker whose work, with her partner Yervant Gianikian, demonstrated an active and...
In other news: Tania Bruguera and Laurie Anderson bring political banners to Times Square; Polish artists protest...
With the Armory Show opening in the city, a guide to the gallery and museum shows not to miss
US true crime series Unsolved takes two formative pop cultural events to explore their concealed human stories and...
Ahead of the Oscars the director of the art world satire talks about making the real-life Square, the Swedish monarchy...
In further news: criticism over Great Exhibition of the North’s BAE Systems partner; judge rules Charlottesville...
The new television series invokes violence and fear as defining forces of civilization, just like the Kenneth Clark...
What the artist’s newly-unveiled chapel in Austin, Texas, tells us about the origins of his practice
With Macron poised to make changes to France's handling of ethnographic art, the quai Branly would do well to follow...
The Barbadian filmmaker, recipient of this year’s Margaret Tait Award, is intent on disrupting institutional complacency
Anya Berger, photographed in Italy.
‘The bearing of an aristocrat and the politics of a revolutionary’, Tom Overton pays tribute
The mythic time of comic-book narrative represents a fatal challenge to the film’s transcendent politics
From the controversial winner of the Golden Bear to Morgan Fisher's homage to Bruce Conner – to possibly the bleakest...
Two controversial events suggest a precarious relationship between China’s culture industry and the state’s soft power...
In further news: French artists and curators rally behind Jeff Koons; Tania Bruguera named for next Turbine Hall...
The artist investigates tensions between the sturdy and the fragile, and the public and the private at VI,VII, Oslo
Why have women been written out of internet history?
Jace Clayton interviews Arthur Jafa about the politics of filmmaking, ‘black sites’ and learning how to surprise...
With global issues cutting across disciplines, a number of projects are showing where the mixing of art and science can...
Ruf resigned last year after a potential conflict of interest; a petition claims that she is being punished for her...
Ahead of ARCOMadrid this week, a guide to the best institutional shows in the city
At La Panacée, Montpellier, Nicolas Bourriaud’s manifesto for a new movement and attempt to demarcate an artistic peer...
A report commissioned by the museum claims Raicovich ‘misled’ the board; she disputes the investigation’s claims
The question at the heart of Manchester Art Gallery’s artwork removal: what are the risks when cultural programming...
A rare, in-depth interview with fashion designer Jil Sander

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

November - December 2017

frieze magazine

January - February 2018

frieze magazine

March 2018