Indonesia Gets its First Modern Art Museum

A man's silhouette looks at a series of blank canvases.

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Indonesia, a country with a rich cultural heritage and deep appreciation for art, will get its first international modern and contemporary art museum next year.  The structure is being built and financed by Haryanto Adikoesoemo, a prominent Indonesian businessman.

The new museum will take over a 43,000 square foot space near the heart of Jakarta, and it will create shows from Adikoesoemo’s own private collection, which currently numbers at about 800 pieces. Its new director will be Dr. Thomas J. Berghuis, former curator of Chinese art at the Guggenheim in New York.

Adikoesoemo’s collection took about 25 years for him to build. 40 percent of the art comes from Indonesia, while 35 percent comes from the United States and Western Europe. The remaining comes from greater Asia. Artists in the collection include Raden Saleh and Affandi, well-known Indonesian artists, and names like Gerhard Richter, Anish Kapoor, and Jeff Koons. MACAN will hopefully explore the relationship between Indonesia and the international art world.

“Jakarta is one of the most dynamic artistic centers in the world, and Indonesia has long been home to countless talented and experimental artists working in all genres,” said Adikoesoemo. “I am delighted to be able to provide the public with the kind of high-caliber arts institution that Indonesia deserves, and to support and expand the existing creative industries and diverse artistic communities.”

Adikoesoemo is president of PT AKR Corporindo, an energy and chemical logistics company based in Indonesia. He is also the president of AKR Land Development, a luxury property developer. He also serves on the board of trustees at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.

“I knew about Haryanto from the curatorial and art world in Indonesia, and when we first started talking, I could tell this was going to be a serious initiative, not a vanity project,” Berghuis said. “There are key artists tied to key movements in the collection, and what is important to me there is you can educate with that.”

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