Mu­seum sketches bright fu­ture for art in In­done­sia

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

FROM Jakarta to Bali and Yo­gyakarta, the In­done­sian art world is flour­ish­ing. Buoyed by a grow­ing, af­flu­ent mid­dle class at home – as well as in­ter­est from in­ter­na­tional buy­ers – nu­mer­ous bou­tique gal­leries and artists’ com­mu­ni­ties have sprung up, while events such as the Jakarta Bi­en­nale, the an­nual ArtJog fair and Bazaar Art Jakarta have fu­elled in­ter­est.

But crit­ics warn a lack of govern­ment fund­ing and high­qual­ity art mu­se­ums means many In­done­sians are miss­ing out.

Busi­nessper­son Haryanto Adikoe­soemo is de­ter­mined to change that: Next year he will open the Mu­seum of Mod­ern and Con­tem­po­rary Art in Nu­san­tara (Mu­seum MA­CAN).

“The In­done­sian art [scene] now is one of the big­gest and the best in Southeast Asia but we are lack­ing in­sti­tu­tions to sup­port this,” he said.

He added that while the coun­try was home to a “vi­brant” arts in­dus­try, it was “lack­ing very nice mu­se­ums that are open to the pub­lic”.

Thomas Berghuis, the former cu­ra­tor of Chi­nese art at New York’s Guggen­heim Mu­seum, has been ap­pointed di­rec­tor at MA­CAN, and the first ex­hi­bi­tion is set to in­clude works from Adikoe­soemo’s col­lec­tion of about 800 pieces by In­done­sian, Asian and Western artists.

It has been a decade since he first had the idea to use his per­sonal col­lec­tion to help cre­ate a world-class art mu­seum open to the pub­lic, but feels now is the best time to open such a space in In­done­sia.

When it comes to art, he be­lieves “more and more peo­ple around the world are look­ing at Southeast Asia”.

The 4000-square-me­tre (43,000-square-foot) venue will have an in­door sculp­ture gar­den and a spe­cial education zone. It is part of a big­ger de­vel­op­ment in Jakarta, still un­der con­struc­tion, that will in­clude restau­rants, cafes, of­fices and res­i­dences.

Adikoe­soemo’s col­lec­tion, built up over a quar­ter of a cen­tury, in­cludes works by S Sud­jo­jono, con­sid­ered the fa­ther of In­done­sian mod­ernism, and the ex­pres­sion­ist painter Af­fandi, as well as pieces by well-known Western artists such as Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Jeff Koons, and Ger­hard Richter. Adikoe­soemo, who is fund­ing the ven­ture, also wants it to be a space for emerg­ing artists to show­case their work. There are hopes too of col­lab­o­ra­tions with gal­leries abroad.

“We want to cre­ate a plat­form for cul­tural ex­changes – for In­done­sian art to be brought to the world, and for world art to be brought to In­done­sia,” said Adikoe­soemo, who is head of lo­gis­tics com­pany AKR Cor­porindo.

The open­ing of MA­CAN is hotly an­tic­i­pated in a coun­try where many pri­vate col­lec­tions are shut away from the pub­lic, ex­ist­ing mu­se­ums are fairly ba­sic and govern­ment-run in­sti­tu­tions are mostly of a low stan­dard.

ArtJog or­gan­iser Heri Pe­mad said the mu­seum was “the an­swer that many con­tem­po­rary art lovers have been wait­ing for”.

“Cur­rently the mu­seum scene in In­done­sia is be­yond sad. Pub­lic taste in art is de­vel­op­ing faster than the mu­se­ums, where time seems to just stand still.”

Berghuis also hopes MA­CAN will en­cour­age young pro­fes­sion­als keen on a ca­reer in the arts by of­fer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in ar­eas such as ex­hi­bi­tion man­age­ment, art cu­ra­tion and con­ser­va­tion, and le­gal af­fairs.

“The vi­sion is about us be­ing part of and help­ing to foster a healthy art ecol­ogy for In­done­sia,” he said.

Adikoe­soemo hopes MA­CAN can boost the re­gion’s po­si­tion as an art hub, and bring some­thing fresh to In­done­sia’s cul­tural land­scape.

He added, “I be­lieve that by ap­pre­ci­at­ing and un­der­stand­ing art we can im­prove our qual­ity of life.”

Photo: Sup­plied

This il­lus­tra­tion re­leased on July 19 shows the ex­te­rior de­sign of the Mu­seum of Mod­ern and Con­tem­po­rary Art in Nu­san­tara (Mu­seum MA­CAN), which will open next year in Jakarta.

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