this winter was quite mild for us in Central Europe, but filled with many tasks, especially for me. Consequently, please excuse the delay of this letter.
As you know, I replaced our chair Rainald Franz from MAK, who, over the past few years, took our group to a higher level of professionalism, through well organized ICDAD meetings, and due to his important contacts in the field, always very well prepared post conference tours. With my leadership, once again a director of a museum becomes the head of our committee, which means for me on the one hand, a heavier workload for the preparation of our activities, on the other hand the possibility to address more colleagues from museums of decorative art. I have been director of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague (UPM) since 1990, and since that time have actively participated in ICOM (at first through ICAA, later ICDAD). During this time I met many colleagues and some of them became true friends. It was always possible to ask someone for information about exhibitions, catalogues, objects, etc. We were exchanging the interesting exhibitions, and our curators attended many professional meetings and trips.
I always considered all these meetings as essential educational opportunities, because Middle and Eastern Europe were both physically and professionally isolated for so long. I still consider the contact among museum professionals as essential and therefore welcome for example the meetings of the free initiative of Muscon (Museum Network Conference by Vitra) . I believe that the exchange of information about ongoing conferences, themes and exhibitions is fruitful for all of us.
The theme of our conference this year in Graz 15‐17 October is, “Private Collectors and Collections”. We will discuss the program during our meeting in Graz end of March. At the same time we will go through the program of our post conference tour in Ljubljana thanks to Mája Lozar. After that, the application form will be posted on the website. For the post conference tour there will be a limitation of the participants due to the possible transportation and admissions to selected venues. Also at the preconference meeting in Graz, we would like to propose future meetings: for 2015 we received the invitation from ICOMAM for the meeting in Krakow, Poland, as there is an exhibition in the National Museum held in July to September 2015. The working title of the exhibition is “Ottoman Orient in the Renaissance Art”. It is a part of the project that the National Museum in Krakow is organizing in collaboration with BOZAR in Brussels, Kunsthistorisches Museum in Wien, and a few other European partners. The exhibition is about cultural and artistic relations between the Ottoman Empire and Europe in the 16th century.
In spite of the similar theme during our recent meeting in Istanbul, in Krakow we can meet colleagues from Poland and elsewhere, and organize an additional program on a theme of interest to ICDAD members. Personally, I would prefer a program focused on 20th century and Contemporary Design in Poland. I will participate at the meeting of the committee in Krakow in April and presumably I´ll recommend ICDAD the acceptance.
In 2016, the ICOM General Assembly of ICOM will be held in Milano, which is the place of all the important exhibitions of design. Our ICDAD meeting should be held there, and there is a possibility to join other Committees, for ex. Glass or Demhist too. For 2017, we have a firm invitation from Scotland.
We would like to place all the essential information on the website and we would like you to use the site as a resource for ICDAD information: please send the news (press releases) about large or important exhibitions, publications, or conferences, to Monica.Bilfinger@bbl.admin.ch who will edit the contributions and ensure their publication on web. Please do not forget to send all pertinent information such as publication prices including shipping and fees. Our goal is to increase mutual awareness of international activities for which we need your cooperation. We also need to increase the activity of our membership, engage a new generation, and to this end I would like to ask my fellow directors to pay attention to inspire interest for applied arts and design, its history, and contemporary practice. My wish would be to meet and discuss this topic, e.g., at the round table conversation held at the annual meeting of ICDAD. I look forward to our collaboration and to our meeting in Graz.
P.S. Please, don’t delay your visit to our museum (UPM): we are preparing for the renovation of the building and our collections will not be accessible during 2015‐2017!