After Delays, Indonesia’s First Modern and Contemporary Art Museum to Finally Open

It’s official: Indonesia’s first contemporary and modern art museum, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum MACAN) will open its doors in November.

The Jakarta institution’s opening was originally planned for March, but construction delays got in the way. The later date may align with opening of a contemporary art exhibitions the Jakarta Biennale and Biennale Jogja, hopefully drawing the international art world to the island nation for the occasion.

In the months leading up to the opening, Museum MACAN will host a series of on-site performances and lectures titled “MACAN First Sight,” kicking off in March, organized by director Aaron Seeto.

Other programming will include related lectures, artist talks, and discussions, and educational workshops held in collaboration with local teachers and schools. The Museum MACAN’s indoor sculpture garden, which features a panoramic view of the Jakarta skyline, will also be open during these previews, showcasing works from the collection. MACAN First Sight will be free and open to the public.

Construction at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara. Courtesy of Thomas Berghuis/Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara.

Construction at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara. Courtesy of Thomas Berghuis/Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara.

The program, said Seeto in a statement, will “give our audiences an early taste of all that’s to come once the museum officially opens…” ARKdesign designed the 43,000-square-foot building, while London-based firm MET Studio Design Ltd. handled the interiors.

For its inaugural exhibition, Museum MACAN has tapped curators Charles Esche and Agung Hujatnika to present some 90 works from the collection of museum founder Haryanto Adikoesoemo. The philanthropist has amassed over 800 modern and contemporary artworks over the past 25 years.

The exhibition is designed to highlight the work of Indonesian artists, as well as their place in the international art world, pairing their art with that of modern and contemporary artists from North America, China, Japan, Korea, and Europe.

Although the museum’s exact launch date has yet to be finalized, the Jakarta Biennale opens on November 4, and the Biennale Jogja launches in nearby Yogyakarta on November 2, so it can’t be too far away.

Rendering of the exterior of Museum MACAN, by MET Studio Design Ltd.

Rendering of the exterior of Museum MACAN, by MET Studio Design Ltd.

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