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As the capital of a nation in full transition, Jakarta’s infrastructure hasn’t exactly been able to keep abreast in a synchronized pace. While the government and city council can only do so much, it’s the private sector that occasionally improvises with initiatives that raise the bar in various fields and disciplines. And such is the newly opened museum Macan, Indonesia’s first museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The venue is founded by Haryanto Adikoesoemo, an Indonesian business mogul and philanthropist with a penchant for modern art, and is intended to house the latter’s expansive collection with exemplary pieces by a string of the planet’s leading artists.

It isn’t a coincidence Macan Museum has found a home of Akr Tower, a glass and steel highrise in the Kebon Jeruk area in West Jakarta, as the building is part of a prestigious mixed-use complex that houses, amongst others, the head office of Adikoesoemo’s eponymous industrial conglomerate. Called Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara in full – Nusantara is a name rooted in old Javanese and currently used in Indonesian to refer to the Indonesian archipelago – the Macan abbreviation, pronounced as Mah-Chaan, is Indonesian for ‘tiger’ and undoubtedly a nod to the country’s dynamic transition on many levels. Museum Macan covers an area of 4,000 sqm., of which well over half is exhibition space, including a sculpture garden, and featuring interiors designed by London-based practice met.

As the museum audaciously aims to take on a trailblazing role in Indonesia’s modern art scene, it comes with an international team of curators that’ll concoct world-class programmes. The affluent Adikoesoemo has garnered art since the early 1990s, and his collection now exceeds 800 works of both homegrown and international top talent. Additionally, a children’s art space can be found on the premises, and it forms an integral part of the museum’s education programme that brings the world of artists and education for kids together through a series of art commissions.

For its much anticipated inaugural show, entitled Museum Macan’s curators Agung Hujatnikajennong and Charles Essche have delved 90 artworks from the vast collection, and the selection on display presents an interesting narrative that not only explores the resonances between Indonesia and the world, but also offers a unique reading of Indonesian art history in dialogue with global art history along the way. On display are works by top Indonesian and international artists, including Kusama Affandi, Willem de Kooning, Handiwirman Saputra, Yayoi Kusama, I Gusti Nyoman Lempad and Damien Hirst.

Photography: Yori Antar + Museum Macan

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