This New International Modern Art Museum Is A First For Indonesia

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Having amassed some of the world's largest and most valuable art collections, Asia's super-rich are now on a mission to share their treasures with the public, and have begun pouring their money into private museums. This trend is most prevalent in China, where Budi Tek has unveiled the sprawling Yuz Museum, nightclub entrepreneur Qiao Zhibing is currently building the 60,000-square-meter arts space Tank Shanghai and Liu Yiquan and his wife Wang Wei operate both the Long Museum Pudong and the Long Museum West Bund. And that’s just in Shanghai.

But while China’s arts patrons are currently making headlines worldwide for building museums en masse, they’re neither the first nor only philanthropists to be funding arts spaces in Asia.

Private museums have been a feature of Indonesia’s art scene ever since collector Oei Hong Djien opened the OHD Museum in Jakarta in 1997, long before the recent building boom in Shanghai.

Several private museums have been built in Jakarta since then and the latest, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum MACAN, for short), opened on November 4. Showcasing roughly 800 works by artists from around the world, it’s being billed as Indonesia’s first museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art.

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Museum MACAN is the brainchild of Haryanto Adikoesoemo, the president of chemicals and logistics company AKR Corporindo and an avid art collector. “The idea to build a museum came about a decade ago,” Adikoesoemo explains. “I reflected on how art has had a tremendous effect on how I view the world and my creative capacity as a businessperson, and I wanted for Indonesians to experience that as well.”

Unlike many arts patrons in Indonesia, including Rudy Akili, Oei Hong Djien and Ir. Ciputra – all of whom have private museums in Jakarta – Adikoesoemo has never limited himself to collecting only Indonesian art. Roughly half of the art in his collection is from his home country, while the rest comes from the United States, Western Europe and elsewhere in Asia.

His collection may seem eclectic, but Adikoesoemo is adamant that every acquisition was carefully considered. “The collection has been developed with a fundamental structure,” he explains. “The Indonesian collection … tells a story of the nation’s emergence from the end of the colonial period through to now. And the other [international] half [looks] at the experience of the post-war through to the contemporary.”

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