Finds a new Home in mu­seum macan

Harper's Bazaar Art (Indonesia) - - In Memoriam -

The peo­ple be­hind the com­ing-soon mu­seum macan want to fur­ther in­grain art in our ev­ery­day ur­ban life. one thing is for sure: the mu­seum will cer­tainly add an in­valu­able ed­u­ca­tional site (how­ever few they are) that pro­vides a peek into our na­tion’s iden­tity as seen through the eyes of art.

By sahiri Lo­ing

The ge­nial and en­thu­si­as­tic Dr. Thomas J. Berghuis tells a story about one breezy morn­ing in New York with Mr. Haryanto Adikoe­soemo: “We met at this lo­cal break­fast place for bagels, and we asked each other ‘so what’s the plan for to­day?’ I might go to the Guggen­heim, he went to the Metropoli­tan, there was an ex­hi­bi­tion in a gallery at Chelsea that he wanted to go to, and then Broadway came up. At the end of the day we met again to share what we saw, each ad­vis­ing the other about what ex­hi­bi­tions to see be­cause it might tie into the other’s in­ter­ests.”

He en­vi­sions a sim­i­lar scene hap­pen­ing in Jakarta in five to 10 years’ time. But with Mu­seum MACAN, founded by phi­lan­thropist and art col­lec­tor Mr. Haryanto Adikoe­soemo, cur­rently in devel­op­ment and to open early 2017, that vi­sion might come true sooner than ex­pected. Mu­seum MACAN (acro­nym for Mod­ern and Con­tem­po­rary Art in Nu­san­tara) is the first of its kind in In­done­sia and will pro­vide the pub­lic with ac­cess to its grow­ing per­ma­nent col­lec­tion of close to 800 art­works, which have been col­lected by Mr. Haryanto Adikoe­soemo over the past 25 years. The col­lec­tion in­cludes works from In­done­sian artists such as Raden Saleh and Af­fandi, as well as in­ter­na­tional treasures by artists such as Jean-michel Basquiat. Dr. Berghuis, pre­vi­ously the cu­ra­tor for Chi­nese Art at the pres­ti­gious Solomon R. Guggen­heim Mu­seum, is ap­pointed as the Di­rec­tor and Chief Cu­ra­tor of Mu­seum MACAN, and along with his pro­fes­sional cu­ra­to­rial team, will be re­spon­si­ble for im­ple­ment­ing a va­ri­ety of ed­u­ca­tional and com­mu­nity pro­grams, col­lec­tion man­age­ment, cu­rat­ing fre­quent tem­po­rary ex­hi­bi­tions, and out­reach projects as well. For the fu­ture they have mapped out ex­cit­ing plans that in­clude col­lab­o­rat­ing with es­tab­lished and up-and-com­ing artists, com­mis­sion­ing new art­works, co-de­vel­op­ing ex­hi­bi­tions, and, most im­por­tantly, en­gag­ing the pub­lic.

“We want to en­hance the deep­en­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of con­tem­po­rary art, and of course we aim to tie it to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity as well,” says Berghuis, who hails from the Nether­lands. “But what we dis­play is not just go­ing to be what’s con­tem­po­rary now, but will also re­late to art in the 21st cen­tury in gen­eral.”

The ap­pre­ci­a­tion of mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary art in In­done­sia has al­ways ex­isted—in­di­cated by the 30,000 attendees of last year’s Jakarta Bi­en­nale—but it’s still con­sid­ered a niche mar­ket, catered by art gal­leries and pri­vate mu­se­ums across big cities like Jakarta and Yo­gyakarta, and art auc­tions are ac­tu­ally gain­ing promi­nence too.

“The In­done­sian art scene has al­ways been vi­brant,” Berghuis says. “You can see it in the ex­is­tence of sang­gar [or stu­dio] in the '40s and '60s, the artists’ move­ments in the '60s and '70s, es­pe­cially with the Ger­akan Seni Rupa Baru (or The New Fine Art Move­ment) in which they ex­plored new art forms like in­stal­la­tions and per­form­ing arts, and the so­cially-rel­e­vant art­work of ‘98 and on­wards. There’s cre­ativ­ity hap­pen­ing ev­ery­where in In­done­sia, and I don’t think we should con­tain it.”

Cater­ing to such cre­ativ­ity is def­i­nitely a pri­or­ity for Mr. Haryanto and Dr. Berghuis, but most im­por­tantly, for the big­ger pic­ture the mu­seum yearns to be part of the en­vi­ron­ment and to be­come sort of a medium for re­flec­tion of what is hap­pen­ing around us, par­tic­u­larly the cul­ture in which it grows roots. “We want to be part of Jakarta, part of In­done­sia, and ul­ti­mately part of the world. That’s why we don’t iso­late the mu­seum, we’re not build­ing a stand­alone one be­cause we aim to con­trib­ute and stim­u­late the broader ecol­ogy, and to con­nect it to other cre­ativ­ity.”


Mu­seum MACAN is lo­cated in Ke­bon

Jeruk, West Jakarta, and oc­cu­pies around 4,000m2 on the fifth floor of a mul­ti­pur­pose land­mark build­ing that will also be used for busi­ness, res­i­den­tial, ho­tel, restau­rants, cafes, and show­room (as part of what they name as The Gallery West com­plex)—all highly vis­i­ble from the high­way as you drive to and from the air­port. The de­sign of the mu­seum is han­dled by Lon­don­based firm, MET Stu­dio De­sign, whose past col­lab­o­ra­tion in­cludes with The

Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum in Lon­don and the gor­geous Wet­land park in Hong Kong. Ac­cord­ing to re­search done in the U.S., visit­ing mu­se­ums or gal­leries is viewed as a so­cial ex­pe­ri­ence where a per­son will gather with fam­ily and friends, per­haps in a nearby café, to talk about their take on a par­tic­u­lar art­work, and the site of Mu­seum MACAN cer­tainly pro­vides such am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“For Haryanto and I, art plays a role in ex­pand­ing our minds, to make us be­come more tol­er­ant and just re­cep­tive to change, and a mu­seum cer­tainly gives us that op­por­tu­nity to re­flect,” says Berghuis. “on the con­trary, we don’t want to make it too ex­clu­sive, too silent. A mu­seum is a so­cial space that en­cour­ages a so­cial ex­pe­ri­ence, and peo­ple love to talk to some­body about what they’ve just seen.”

“For more than a decade I have dreamed of cre­at­ing a mu­seum for the peo­ple of In­done­sia, and for our vis­i­tors and friends from over­seas,” Mr. Haryanto re­veals in the press re­lease. “I am con­fi­dent that to­gether with MET Stu­dio we are de­vel­op­ing the ideal space for peo­ple of all ages to en­joy, en­gage with, and learn about the true value of mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary art for our lives and our so­ci­ety.”

Speak­ing of en­gage­ment, Berghuis re­called two ex­pe­ri­ences he had at the Guggen­heim, with the first one in­volv­ing sit­ting with his daugh­ter in the Mu­seum’s ro­tunda look­ing at a James Tur­rell art­work. “It was dur­ing the day and there was this long line-up of peo­ple around the block just to ex­pe­ri­ence the sights and the in­stal­la­tion of the artist. The sec­ond one took place dur­ing a quiet morn­ing where there was a hand­ful of tourists, and among them were a group of young stu­dents—around 8 or 9 peo­ple—dis­cussing with their art teacher and a mu­seum staff mem­ber about this paint­ing by Su­bodh Gupta, about how they felt re­gard­ing it and how they thought it was made.” Again, Berghuis hopes that he will see some­thing like this hap­pen­ing in­side Mu­seum MACAN, es­pe­cially since the sur­round­ing neigh­bour­hood is teem­ing with sec­ondary schools.

The in­te­rior of Mu­seum MACAN is de­signed to be com­pletely ex­pe­ri­en­tial, a free-flow­ing jour­ney that starts from the en­trance where it will be marked by a gate­way arch that wraps across the space and leads to a gallery with in­ter­ac­tive ed­u­ca­tion with col­lab­o­ra­tive dig­i­tal “art totems”. Af­ter­wards, you will en­ter an open-plan ex­hi­bi­tion area with high ceil­ings that will fo­cus on con­tem­po­rary art and special projects, then con­tinue to a more im­mer­sive space for his­tor­i­cal art­work dis­plays like paint­ings and sculp­tures as well as sem­i­nal 20th cen­tury mod­ern art. ”It’s go­ing to be a holis­tic open view,” Dr. Berghuis adds. “From a cu­ra­to­rial per­spec­tive, it will be driven by vis­ual ex­pe­ri­ence and dif­fer­ent lay­ers of ex­pe­ri­ence.”

These last two spa­ces, in a way, were in­spired by a par­tic­u­lar area at the Guggen­heim. “I worked in this one tower be­hind the ro­tunda where it had a very high ceil­ing—around six me­ters high—and the ar­chi­tec­ture was kind of ware­house style, ex­pan­sive, and usu­ally we held events and com­mis­sioned ex­hi­bi­tions in this open space. But then on the next tower the space is nar­rower and much more in­ti­mate with a low ceil­ing, and this area is per­fect to show art­works like small paint­ings where you can just fo­cus on the de­tails of the paint­ings.”


In­done­sia is home to many ex­cep­tional artists, some al­ready revered in the global

art scenes and many promis­ing oth­ers are in line wait­ing for their time to shine. Names like Lee Man Fong to Hen­dra Gu­nawan to Agus Suwage to Heri Dono have suc­cess­fully kick-started and per­pet­u­ated the in­ter­est in lo­cal con­tem­po­rary art, lay­ing the ground­work for fu­ture artists such as Ti­tarubi, Mas­ri­adi, Chris­tine Ay Tjoe, and eko Nu­groho (who held a solo show in Musee d’art Moderne in paris back in 2002).

per­haps re­flect­ing on the ever pro­gress­ing na­ture of In­done­sian con­tem­po­rary art, Berghuis says he doesn’t have a fa­vorite artist. “I just don’t want to sin­gle out be­cause I think even the ar­ti­sans who built the Borobudur tem­ple are as valu­able as the con­tem­po­rary artists of to­day.” For sure he is de­ter­mined to con­stantly spot­light lo­cal artists, “And have them cross-pol­li­nate with artists from other coun­tries. But, I guess most im­por­tantly is to have that ac­ces­si­bil­ity so the pub­lic can see their art. I of­ten re­flect on this: an art space with­out vis­i­tors—is it re­ally art? [That’s why] Ac­ces­si­bil­ity is all.”

Berghuis him­self comes from a fam­ily of artists—his mother worked in the print­ing busi­ness and his fa­ther was an in­te­rior de­signer who had a pas­sion and gift for paint­ing—thus for­tu­nately in­tro­duced to the art world from a very young age. “As a kid they al­ways brought me on trips to mu­se­ums, gal­leries, artists’ stu­dios, and even some artists’ friend of my par­ents of­ten vis­ited our home in Am­s­ter­dam.” He stud­ied sinol­ogy in Lei­den Univer­sity and earned his ph.d in Asian Art His­tory at Univer­sity of Syd­ney (where later on he be­came a lec­turer for the same sub­ject), and around this time he started get­ting in­tro­duced to what was hap­pen­ing in the art scenes in Asia, namely In­done­sia.

“most im­por­tant thing is to have that ac­ces­si­bil­ity so the pub­lic can see their art. i of­ten

re­flect on this: an art space with­out vis­i­tors - is it re­ally art? (that's why) ac­ces­si­bil­ity is all.”

—Thomas Berghuis

He ob­serves that In­done­sia needs more sup­port struc­tures, par­tic­u­larly if we want the art world to fur­ther bloom. “For us a mu­seum serves as a space for ac­ti­va­tion, for dis­cus­sion and for project space to help cre­ate and sup­port young artists. And we also have a role to help build cat­a­log re­sume to show their body of work be­cause we pro­vide that space to re­flect on a par­tic­u­lar pe­riod, like what Ga­leri Na­sional did with their Raden Saleh ex­hi­bi­tions or Mu­seum Na­sional Yo­gyakarta with Agus Suwage, com­plete with the launch of a bi­o­graph­i­cal book that took three years just talk­ing to the artist” Along the pipe­line Berghuis aims to link the world of art to other creative in­dus­tries such as fash­ion where nat­u­rally art is part of the de­signs, and even to the art­ful world of crafts where the young and hip Ikea-lov­ing crowd of­ten roam these days.

But, in the end, there’s noth­ing more sig­nif­i­cant than the art­work, and the artists who cre­ate it. “Adikoe­soemo and I have no hid­den agenda—we’re do­ing this be­cause we have a shared pas­sion for art, and we want to ex­tend that pas­sion to oth­ers so they can ex­pe­ri­ence it them­selves.”

Haryanto Adikoe­soemo & Thomas J. Beghuis

Dul­lah, Bung Karno, 1965

James Rosen­quist

Ay Tjoe Chris­tine, My Mono­logue, 2008

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