Museum MACAN (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara) opened its doors in late 2017 and the buzz about the building—and its many insta worthy exhibits—has not abated since. NOW! Jakarta spoke to Museum Director Aaron Seto about the museum’s contribution to Jakarta’s burgeoning art scene.

Opened in 2017, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara lauched the fist public exhibition "Art Turns. World Turns". Photos courtesy of Museum MACAN/NOW!JAKARTA

Jakarta is home to so much art and not a whole lot of spaces to exhibit. In a way, the opening of the Museum is 'liberating' in the sense that it opens up the opportunity to a variety of art. How does the opening of the museum facilitate this?
Museum MACAN is opened to public with a mission to educate. Museum-going culture is still in need of nurturing here in Indonesia, and so since the Museum opened in November 2017, we have been focused in offering programmes that both exhibit the best of Indonesian and global art – in line with the Museum collection, which is derived from Pak Haryanto’s collection with stronghold in both Indonesian and international art. We have programmes in place for the coming years, and those programs reflect our mission. We are located in ‘Nusantara’, with an aim to be an active art institution in Southeast Asia.

Besides, being an institution that aims to cultivate museum-going culture in Indonesia means that we also focus on sharing museum manners to our visitors. By providing an infrastructure and programmess in the Museum, we are showcasing what it means to be a 21st century museum to the public.

What are some of the genres of art that you have brought so far and hope to bring in the year ahead?
True to our name, we exhibit modern and contemporary art with significance to the Indonesian and regional public. In the coming years, we will be showcasing both Indonesian art and international art with education in mind.

Behind-the-scenes look from the upcoming Children’s Art Space commission project, by emerging Indonesian artist Gatot Indrajati. Titled Kotak Utak-Atik (The Tinkering Box), the space is dedicated for visitors artistic exploration. On this project, visitors will be invited to tinker with ‘’machine parts’’ in a factory setting. The upcoming project launches on 6 August 2018, and is created in partnership with UOB – the Museum’s Major Education Partner
Installation view of Museum MACAN’s inaugural exhibition, titled Art Turns. World Turns. The exhibition features 90 works from 70 artists, taken from the Museum collection, The exhibition ran from 4 November 2017 – 8 March 2018, and was visited by over 130,000 visitors. Image courtesy of Museum MACAN.

We're at a time when more Indonesian art is coming on the scene, will we see exhibits and related activities connected to Indonesian artists?
Certainly. In line with our inaugural exhibition, Art Turns. World Turns, which displays Indonesian modern and contemporary art, our upcoming programmes will also highlight significant Indonesian artists. The coming exhibition (which will be announced in the next month), will reflect our commitment to bring Indonesian art into the international platform.

How can the Museum engage in conversation with the rest of the world so as to promote awareness of art in this country?
We have welcomed a diverse group of international audience, including artists, curators and galleries. This is in line with our mission to provide public access to a series of significant art programs.

Being a unique institution that we are in Indonesia, we have also been thankful for the international attention given to us. We are fostering and growing the relationship with other institutions in the region and are opened for potential collaborations with artists and other arts & cultural bodies. The Yayoi Kusama exhibition is a three-way collaboration with National Gallery Singapore and Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art. Our Children’s Art Space has featured Entang Wiharso and will feature works by Gatot Indrajati. The next projects will involve emerging and established artists from the region. Those examples show Museum MACAN as an active art institution that aims to contribute to the society at large.

Installation view from Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow. On view from 12 May – 9 September 2018, the survay exhibition of Yayoi Kusama is an interinstitutional collaboration between the Museum, National Gallery Singapore and Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane.

A feature on the Yayoi Kusama Exhibit at Museum MACAN in June 2018 had an incorrect expansion on the name of the museum. NOW! Jakarta regrets the error.
This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine August 2018 issue “Capital of Culture”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.

NOW! Jakarta

NOW! Jakarta

The article is produced by editorial team of NOW!Jakarta