News and Events

The MAIIAM Museum of Contemporary Art
Chiang Mai
to open on July 3rd 2016

Arts and crafts flourish in the northern kingdom of Chiang Mai, renowned throughout history for its skilled artisans and craftsmen. For much of the last century and into this one, it is also where many celebrated Thai contemporary artists and auteurs have called home.

Foto 20-06-59 EB, 09 55 25

Arts and crafts flourish in the northern kingdom of Chiang Mai, renowned throughout history for its skilled artisans and craftsmen. For much of the last century and into this one, it is also where many celebrated Thai contemporary artists and auteurs have called home. A city that is as much rural as it is urban, it has a community that cares for the arts and harnesses the spirit of collaboration and community. This inspired the Bunnag-Beurdeley family to found the MAIIAM Museum of Contemporary Art (MAIIAM) in Chiang Mai. Jean Michel Beurdeley and his late wife Patsri Bunnag, together with their son Eric Bunnag Booth, wanted to share the private collection they built together over the last 30 years to everyone so that people could see and experience for themselves how art can enrich their lives, and with that the Museum would inspire new collectors.

The name of the museum is a play on words, as “Mai” in Chiang Mai means “new city” and is also a tribute to Eric Bunnag Booth’s great grand aunt “Jao Jom Iam”, a royal consort to King Rama V, who lived during a time when Thailand came into modernity. The double entendre extends to the meaning of MAI IAM, which means “brand new”.

MAIIAM will open in a converted 3000 sq. meter warehouse in the historic crafts district of Sankampang. The museum was designed by architectural firm allzone, led by Rachaporn Choochey. The firm, known for its contextual approach to architecture, were given a core brief whereby they would let the art and not the architecture be the main attraction. On the ground floor there will be a temporary exhibition hall, screening room (40 person capacity), and entrance hall dedicated to Jao Jom Iam and the history of the Bunnag family. Upstairs will house the permanent collection hall of around 1300 sq. meters and two smaller exhibition rooms. The space in the middle of the museum converts into an indoor/outdoor open space for show openings, live performances, and social happenings. There will also be a restaurant and museum gift shop. The Museum will house the family’s permanent collection, which includes seminal works from the masters of Thai Contemporary art from the late Montien Boonma, Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Chatchai Puipia and Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook to Navin Rawanchaikul, Natee Utarit, Vasan Sitthiket, Pinaree Sanpitak, and Rirkrit Tiravanija, as well as the discoveries they have made amongst the young and emerging artists of the Kingdom. On the collection, Eric Bunnag Booth describes it: “In no way does our collection represent the whole history of Thai contemporary art – it represents just our own point of view, based on the sole criterion of the emotional response the works give us. I believe a work of art exists as a result the artist’s creativity, but also in the emotional response it produces in the viewer.” Leading expert in Thai Contemporary Art, Chiang Mai-native Grithiya Gaweewong is a consultant to MAIIAM. Gridthiya’s objective is to create a platform and catalyst for multi-disciplinary collaboration among the museum, artists, and the local community. Furthermore, it will provide access to both the local and international community to one of the best collections of Thai Contemporary Art in the region.

MAIIAM will open with the first-ever retrospective show, “The Serenity of Madness”, by celebrat-
ed artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a Chiang Mai resident. The multi-media exhibition will include a program of special screenings, activities, and talks throughout the course of the exhibition. The official opening of MAIIAM will take place on July 3rd, 2016.

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