New Modern and Contemporary Art Museum to Enter Jakarta's Art Scene in 2017

The exterior design rendering of Museum Macan, which is set to open in Jakarta in early 2017. (Photo courtesy of MET Studio Design)

By : Nico Novito | on 7:20 PM January 26, 2016
Category : Life & Style, Arts & Culture

Jakarta. The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, or Museum Macan, is set to open its doors in the Kebon Jeruk area of West Jakarta in early 2017.

An initiative of Indonesian philanthropist and art collector Haryanto Adikoesoemo, the museum will be the first of its kind in the country, which has been experiencing an immense growth in its contemporary art scene within the past decade.

According to a press release received by the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday (26/1), the museum will provide the public with access to a wide-ranging permanent collection — made up of close to 800 prominent modern and contemporary art pieces — as well as giving a new platform for emerging and established artists.

Indonesian artists whose works are part of the collection include Raden Saleh, S. Sudjojono, Affandi, Heri Dono and FX Harsono. Important pieces by Robert Rauschenberg, Anish Kapoor, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha and more renowned international artists will also be included.

"They are part of Haryanto's own collection, so we have the basic to work with," Thomas J. Berghuis, the museum's director, told the Jakarta Globe by phone.

A former curator for Chinese art at New York's Guggenheim Museum, Berghuis will be overseeing every aspect of the public museum, which will occupy a 4,000-square-meter space in a new landmark building currently under construction.

"Indonesia has become a focal point in my practice," explained Berghuis when asked why he was interested to spearhead the development of Museum Macan. "What we hope is to tie the museum into the grassroots — the flourishing and very active art world [in the country]."

The curator first got acquainted with Haryanto sometime in 2014 and was offered the position.

"It was a no-brainer. You basically do it once," he said.

Thomas J. Berghuis, the director of Museum MACAN. (Photo courtesy of Museum MACAN/Yuwono Widiasta) Thomas J. Berghuis, the director of Museum MACAN. (Photo courtesy of Museum MACAN/Yuwono Widiasta)

Speaking about the museum's mission, Berghuis said that it would be an immersive and inclusive space for the art community as well as the general public.

"We want to create a space that helps foster an understanding of modern and contemporary art and exchanges in a broader cultural ecology," he said.

Museum Macan plans to conduct a diverse range of programs, from special project exhibitions to the commissioning of new works by emerging and established artists alike.

Another element that Berghuis said will be the museum's hallmark is an emphasis on research and community outreach.

"One thing we would want to do is to make the collection open for research and exchange. We will also invite other [traveling] exhibitions as well to the museum," he said.

In addition, the museum will offer career development opportunities for art professionals.

"Not only curators, but also exhibition managers, art handlers — everyone on every level," Berghuis pointed out.

Currently, Berghuis along with his team is still developing ideas on the museum's upcoming exhibition program.

"I'm also planning the interior design with the MET Studio Design [an international design firm] from London. We very much focus on an interactive and engaging type of museum experience," he added.

Prior to the museum's grand opening early next year, Museum Macan will hold a soft-launch event this fall, in which Haryanto will "introduce the concept of the museum to the art scene here," according to Berghuis.

This museum's roaring spirit to enrich Jakarta's art landscape is indeed reflected in its own name — an acronym that is pronounced like the Indonesian word for "tiger."

"I think it's a really nice word," Berghuis remarked. "The animal itself stands for inspiration and the process of discovery. For me, that is Macan."

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