The building of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Taipei was completed and inaugurated in 1921. Originally, the building was "Kensei Shogakko," or Jian Cheng Elementary School, for educating Japanese children during the Japanese ruled period. Since 1945, Taiwan became under the rule of the government of the Republic of China, and the building of the former elementary school was appointed the office building of the Taipei City Government. It remained so until the Government moved into its new quarters in Xinyi District in 1994. During the five decades, this red brick building was the central hub that powered all hardware and software construction in the municipal affairs of Taipei City.
In 1996, the former Taipei City Government building was designated as a Municipal Heritage Site; and based on the policy of reusing historic building, the front of the building was renovated into MOCA, Taipei whereas the two lateral buildings were assigned as the classrooms of Jian Cheng Junior High School. The combination of MOCA, Taipei and Jian Cheng Junior High School not only became the foremost example of having a museum and a school share one building, the site was also taken as an extension of the cultural-historical axis from Taipei Confucius Temple to Dalongdong Baoan Temple. The establishment of MOCA, Taipei was also deemed as a new opportunity to rejuvenate the development of Datong District. With all eyes of the cultural and artistic circles in Taiwan on the site, the municipal historic site as well as the former Taipei City Government building was revitalized and transformed into the only museum of contemporary art in the country, and was inaugurated on May 26, 2001. Ever since then, a new landmark has been created on the cultural map of Taipei.
Since its inauguration in 2001, the museum had been managed and operated by Contemporary Art Foundation, a civil organization founded by entrepreneurs and commissioned by the government for the first seven years. The unifying dedication and collaboration of the board of directors of the Foundation as well as the museum directors and staffs had presented innumerous outstanding contemporary art exhibitions. In addition to facilitating dialogues between Taiwan and the international art scene, they had also expanded the aesthetic taste and cultural vision of the general public. On January 1, 2008, the BOT contract that lasted seven years ended, and Taipei Cultural Foundation took on the task of managing and operating the museum. The new managerial team has continued the operational ideals and directions of its predecessor while taking further efforts to engage domestic and international attention and incorporate limited official resources and the private sector's supports to create a platform for diverse culture and interdisciplinary creativity. Apart from playing an important role in organizing international contemporary art exhibitions and focalizing the fruitful results of Taiwanese contemporary art, the museum has always hoped to reach the following three goals: 1. to promote diverse artistic creation and exhibitions; 2. to enable the public's new perspective and thinking; 3. to offer the development of contemporary cities continuous creativity and energy.
In an era of information transparency when all forms of visible and invisible connections and networks are being formed and the need for and technologies of mutual interaction are emerging, a professional museum of contemporary art must be able to catch up with the global trends and keep up with the world while constructing multiple channels to bridge the gap between artists and audience. It needs to orchestrate a comprehensive mechanism that facilitates artistic inspiration, message communication, education and learning, leisure and entertainment, community identification, and cultural construction. Contemporary art itself is of the present, and similarly, we hope this mechanism to be always organic and self-renewing to strengthen itself and open to heterogeneous voices for more possibilities to collectively create an unlimited future of Taiwanese arts and culture.