World-class Contemporary Art
Museum MACAN, is an acronym for The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, Nusantara being the Indonesian word for the archipelago (and macan meaning tiger).
This private museum opened its doors in late 2017 and presents a significant and expanding collection of eminent international and Indonesia modern and contemporary art. Indonesian philanthropist and businessman Haryanto Adikoesoemo has been amassing the collection for 25 years and aims not only to provide a dynamic exhibition program focusing on cultural exchange between Indonesia and the international art world, but plans to commission new works and offer artists and curators (among others) creative opportunities. The aim being the boosting of Indonesia’s vibrant art scene and making art more widely accessible—indeed a tiger on the scene.
The museum is located in the Kebon Jeruk area of West Jakarta, in a business and residential tower block built by Adikoesoemo’s property development company AKR Land, and designed by Jakarta based architects, ARKdesign. The glass prism protruding from the lower levels of the tower houses the museum, with interiors designed by the London-based MET Studio. Using the theme of a wrapped structure, walls flow from the concrete floor up to the ceiling, ostensibly a visual reference to the way that art and culture can connect and have value to society—the underlying aspiration of the museum.
The main light-filled entrance with views over Jakarta’s skyline incorporates an indoor sculpture garden, a small cafe (although the Starbucks on the ground level seemed more popular), a museum shop that stocks books and an array of art-themed and artist-produced goods that you actually may want to buy (some great stuff here!). Here you’ll also find the ticket counter, which on the day we visited had an hour-long queue (we kid you not, this is a popular attraction), although you can (supposedly) avoid the queue by buying tickets online (it didn’t work for us). Your ticket allocates a time for entry, and ours was only half an hour later, which was enough time to enjoy the sculptural works and large paintings in the public area. Large bags, food and water bottles are not permitted inside the museum (including water inside your small bag), and must be checked in the cloak room.
Around half of the museum’s collection includes works by prominent Indonesian artists with the remaining collection spanning Asia, Europe and the Americas. Initially themed exhibitions will draw from this collection, and the inaugural exhibition (which we viewed) marked the first public appearance of many of the works and included paintings by Raden Saleh, Miguel Covarrubias, Walter Spies, Hendra Gunawan, Affandi and I Gusti Nyoman Lempad and other Indonesian and foreign artists working in Indonesian during the colonial period.
Also featured were modern and contemporary works by the likes of international heavyweights like Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Damien Hirst and Keith Haring, through to contemporary Asian artists including Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, Singaporean Zai Kuning, Japanese artists Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami, Korean Lee Ufan. Other esteemed contemporary Indonesian artists such as Jumaldi Alfi, I Dewa Ngakan Made Ardana, FX Harsono and Arahmayani (whose controversial work in this exhibition “Lingga-Yoni” which uses Hindu and sexual iconography with Arabic and Javanese text resulted in death threats which then led her to leave the country temporarily when it was first exhibited in 1994) also featured.
One work in the exhibition, especially commissioned for the show, was Yukinori Yanagi’s ASEAN +3 which presents the flags of the 10 ASEAN countries plus China, Japan and South Korea made from coloured sand connected by transparent tubes to which a colony of 5,000 ants were introduced. The ants were intended to move and mix the coloured sands over the course of the exhibition—addressing Asia’s changing geopolitics, economies and migration.
Future exhibitions will include major surveys of world renowned artists as well as works from the collection and commissions. Separate to the main exhibition space, a children’s art space also features a series of changing commissioned works to inspire and delight both children and their parents (and anyone else) with interactive activities and play. Informative signage and brochures for the exhibition we viewed were available in both English and Indonesian.
In spite of the fact that the museum and the collection are impressive we were a little surprised at how small the actual exhibition space is, however we have read that due to the initial success of the museum, they may expand. The museum also hosts events and workshops which include drawing sessions, performance, forums, talks and music events for both adults and children.
This vibrant and inspiring space is a welcome addition to Indonesia’s art scene and although it was slightly frustrating to have to queue for so long, it was heartening to see so many people interested in contemporary art in Jakarta, even if many of the visitors seemed to be more absorbed by taking selfies with the artworks than quietly contemplating their sometimes complex and provocative ideas, at least the idea of making art widely accessible to the public has been achieved (well the public who can afford the hefty entry fee that is).
The exhibition we visited offered free daily guided tours which may be extended to future exhibitions, but is worth checking beforehand to see if they will be available in English.
Museum MACAN is easily accessible by public transport, and is around 45 minutes from Central Jakarta by the TransJakarta busway (3,500 rupiah). From Monas take the Kalideres-Bundaran Senayan 3A corridor route to Grogol 1 (3 stops) and change to number 8 bus to Lebak Bulus. Alight at Kebon Jeruk (12 stops), from where Museum MACAN is a 700 metre walk. A metered taxi from central Jakarta will cost around 40,000 rupiah and take approximately 30 minutes.
Address: Level MM AKR Tower, 5 Jalan Panjang, Kebon Jeruk, Jakarta
T: (0212) 2121 888;
Coordinates (for GPS): 106º46'3.73" E, 6º11'26.5" S
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: 100,000 rupiah for adults, 90,000 rupiah for students an 80,000 rupiah for kids
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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