“JAKARTA, Indonesia — For a city of its huge size — 10 million people — and economic heft, Jakarta lacked many things one might expect of a thriving Asian metropolis: a metro system, for one, as well as a major international modern and contemporary art museum.
The metro system will be operational in 2019, but the contemporary art museum has come even sooner. On Nov. 4, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, known as Museum Macan, opened its doors to the public, with items from the 800 contemporary and modern works owned by Haryanto Adikoesoemo, the museum’s founder, an Indonesian property and chemicals tycoon turned prodigious art collector. Situated on a horseshoe-shaped floor of a tower in the western part of the city, the museum in its early days has stunned Jakarta crowds with phantasmagoric light installations like “Infinity Mirrored Room — Brilliance of the Souls” by Yayoi Kusama, alongside classic Indonesian modernist paintings by the likes of Raden Saleh.
Mr. Adikoesoemo, 55, says he is determined to add a dose of culture to a city mainly known for its palatial shopping malls and awful traffic. “If I go to Europe, I go to museums for relaxation,” Mr. Adikoesoemo explained, sitting on the edge of his seat in the dining room of his family’s mansion in the heart of Jakarta. “Indonesia still doesn’t have that culture.”
Mr. Adikoesoemo, a trustee of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, has been collecting art for over 20 years, and has amassed an eclectic collection that is a mix of modernist Indonesian artists like Affandi, contemporary Western artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons, and prominent contemporary artists from Japan and China, including Ms. Kusama and Ai Weiwei. … ”
Read the report by Jon Emont on The New York Times.