Courtesy of the Mori Art Museum and M+

The main activities of a museum are to collect, preserve, exhibit, publish, and diffuse, but the policy and scope of acquisitions vary depending on the museum’s area of focus, financial resources, and history in its local context. Japanese museums have long organised exhibitions that consist of loaned or newly commissioned works, but in recent years there has been an increase in curatorial efforts to reactivate permanent collections. At the same time, more and more attention has been given to modern and contemporary practices in non-Western countries, eliciting the need for a new definition of museum collections. While a number of museum collections originated with private collectors, Japan has a long history of private as well as public collecting, a history that can serve as a benchmark as well as a productive counterpart to museum collections that have emerged more recently in other parts of Asia.

In anticipation of the opening of its building, M+ is launching, through partnerships with other institutions around the world, the M+ International initiative, which aims to create a platform to discuss current issues facing museums. As part of this project, M+ and the Mori Art Museum are organising a symposium—consisting of a two-day invitation-only conference followed by a public forum—to reconsider the meaning of museum collections. What should museum collections be in our contemporary context? By focusing on institutions in the Asia Pacific region as case studies, the symposium intends to stimulate creative discussion on the potential of museum collections today.

Public Discussion:

‘What Is the New Thinking around Collections in Modern and Contemporary Museums in Asia?’

In the context of the contemporary, globalised conversation on modern and contemporary art and visual culture, museums in Asia are devising new ways to manage and loan their collections to promote alternative models of collaboration with other institutions. Furthermore, with the development of digital technology, the ways in which collections data can be shared is rapidly evolving. Reflecting on the ideas raised during the two-day symposium, this public event takes museums of different regional, historical, and financial backgrounds, and with various administrative structures, as a starting point for discussion. Examining the activities of these museums should allow us to investigate potential models and future possibilities for museum collections.

26 September 2019 (Thursday)


Academyhills (49F, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, Tokyo, Japan)

Kasahara Michiko (Vice Director, Artizon Museum), Doryun Chong (Deputy Director, Curatorial and Chief Curator, M+), Sugaya Tomio (Deputy Director, Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka Planning Office), Horikawa Lisa (Deputy Director of Collections Development, National Gallery Singapore), Yokoyama Ikko (Lead Curator, Design and Architecture, M+), Kataoka Mami (Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Mori Art Museum)

Japanese and English, with simultaneous interpretation in both languages

Free admission. Limited capacity on a first-come, first-served basis



Conference (by invitation only, closed):
This public discussion follows on a two-day closed conference organised by M+ and the Mori Art Museum. Professionals from institutions in Japan and beyond come together to discuss a range of topics related to museum collections, including the importance of collecting and how it should be carried out, differences in the approach to collecting between private and public museums, collecting and preserving design and architecture, and strategies of activating collections.

25–26 September 2019 (Wednesday - Thursday)

Aaron Seeto (Director, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara), Doryun Chong (Deputy Director, Curatorial, and Chief Curator, M+), Gridthiya Gaweewong (Artistic Director, Jim Thompson Art Center), Horikawa Lisa (Deputy Director of Collections Development, National Gallery Singapore), Hosaka Kenjiro (Curator, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo), Ikko Yokoyama (Lead Curator, Design and Architecture, M+), Jihoi Lee (Curator, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, Seoul), Kasahara Michiko (Vice Director, Artizon Museum), Kataoka Mami (Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Mori Art Museum), Kitazawa Tomoto (Chief, Museum Materials Section, Museum & Library Group, Musashino Art University), Kuroda Raiji (Curator and Executive Director, Department of Operation and Management, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum), Matsunaga Shintaro (Curator, Yokohama Museum of Art), Miki Akiko (International Artistic Director, Benesse Art Site Naoshima), Ota Kayoko (Curator, CCA c/o Tokyo, Canadian Centre for Architecture), Seki Naoko (Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo), Sugaya Tomio (Deputy Director, Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka Planning Office), Suzuki Kota (Curator, Pola Museum of Art), Uematsu Yuka (Curator, National Museum of Art, Osaka), Yanagisawa Hideyuki (Chief Curator, Ohara Museum of Art)

About the Mori Art Museum
The Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, opened in 2003 symbolically on the top floor of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower skyscraper, a noted landmark of Tokyo, with the aim of becoming a pioneering international museum of contemporary art with special significance for Asia. It has since then developed its own distinctive approach to art activities, embracing the concepts of ‘contemporary’ and ‘international’ and is committed to presenting a wide range of exhibitions and learning programs that feature cutting-edge visual arts, architecture, and design in a global perspective. The intention of the Mori Art Museum's continuing ‘Art + Life’ principle is to realise an enriched society where art relates to all aspects of life.



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