Suzanne Cotter has announced she will be leaving Luxembourg in December this year, just shy of four years after taking the reins at the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (Mudam). She is returning to her native Australia to head up the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney. The MCA, as it is known, is recognised as the country’s leading museum dedicated to contemporary art from Australia and around the world.
During her tenure, Cotter has frequently stated that she wants to make the museum more accessible—a goal tempered, of course, by the restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic. But in an interview with Delano in December 2019 she said that she wanted to change perceptions of Mudam as a place for the cultural elite. “We have to shift this around, so people think of the museum as part of the landscape, of the city and natural circuit, like going to the bakery or to the market to get your fruit and vegetables.”
She also helped oversee the launch, in May 2019, of the American Friends of Mudam to help with acquisitions that could broaden the museum’s own collection. “We are a young museum with fewer than 700 works, including some significant works. Our challenge is to build on that,” she told Delano.
Cotter will lead Mudam until the end of 2021 and will support the museum in the recruitment of her successor. She will also continue to provide curatorial leadership on exhibitions that have already been planned for 2022.
“It has been an immense privilege to be the director of the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean and to lead its talented and committed team of museum professionals,” she said in a statement on Thursday morning. “I am deeply grateful to the board of Mudam for their unswerving support and to have had the opportunity to work with the many exceptional artists, cultural producers and thinkers, partners, patrons and supporters of the museum, both nationally and internationally, in accomplishing the museum’s mission and setting its path for future generations.”
Cotter has previously held leading positions in renowned institutions including the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York (Abu Dhabi project); and Modern Art Oxford, Hayward Gallery, Whitechapel Art Gallery and the Serpentine Gallery, all in London. She has also served as the secretary treasurer of the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art.