2017 is an exciting year for Indonesian art enthusiasts as we welcome the first museum dedicated to international modern art. Scheduled to open this November, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara or Museum MACAN aims to celebrate the dynamic movement of contemporary art in Indonesia as well as to expose more of the country’s creative talents and bring them to an international stage.

Founded by one of Indonesia’s leading philanthropists and art collectors, Haryanto Adikoesoemo, the museum lies on 4,000 square meters of land at AKR Tower, a new multipurpose landmark building designed in the up-and-coming Kebon Jeruk neighbourhood in West Jakarta. In collaboration with MET Studio Design of London and equipped with cutting-edge facilities, Museum MACAN is slated to bring new innovations to Indonesian modern art scene. NOW! Jakarta recently caught up with the Director of Museum MACAN, Aaron Seeto, to learn more about what this spectacular museum has to offer.

Hi Pak Aaron, please tell us the mission of Museum MACAN.
Museum MACAN is built with three main goals in mind: to develop and advance awareness and appreciation of modern and contemporary art in Indonesia, to cross-pollinate cultural exchanges between Indonesia and the world, as well as to nurture and develop professional environment and human resources for art in Indonesia.

What’s the progress of Museum MACAN so far?
We are in the final stage of development at the moment, and soon we will start introducing the museum to the public through a preview programme called MACAN First Sight, beginning in March until its grand opening in November. The purpose is to provide our local audience with special opportunities to become acquainted with MACAN through a series of events, from building tours to pop-up lectures and cultural performances. Details will be announced shortly before each programme through our social media platforms.

Please tell us a bit of Museum MACAN’s facilities.
Museum MACAN will be equipped with 2,000 square meters of exhibition galleries, a 500-square meter indoor sculpture garden, as well as spaces for educational programmes, an A/V room, a café and a retail store. The new purpose-built building will enable Museum MACAN to provide the Indonesian audience with dynamic exhibitions, commissions of new artwork and a wide variety of public programmes.

What about the curating aspect of the museum?
At Museum MACAN’s grand opening, we will have an inaugural exhibition of approximately 90 significant works drawn from Museum MACAN founder Haryanto Adikoesoemo’s private collection, co-curated by Charles Esche and Agung Hujatnika. Adikoesoemo’s collection currently comprises more than 800 modern and contemporary artworks from Indonesia and around the world, developed over the past 25 years. The collection continues to grow and is on long-term loan to the museum. Mr. Adikoesoemo’s collection provides the basis for Museum MACAN’s collection and a strong foundation for Museum MACAN’s vision and mission. It will be accessible for developing exhibitions, education, research and exchange. However, another key component of our mission is to present a varied exhibition program, including the presentation of artworks from outside of our collection. We will also work with artists to develop and show new works.

How do you envision the museum visitor’s experience?
Museum MACAN is the first of its kind. It has been designed to present exhibitions to the highest standards, as well as to host a range of exhibition-related public programmes. Visitors will be able to experience works of art by artists from around the world, many of which have never been presented to the Indonesian public before. We will also lead regular tours of the museum where our expert staff will guide visitors through the collection. Our programmes will be for all kinds of visitors – including children, families, newcomers and avid art lovers.

How is Museum MACAN going to support local artists?
Museum MACAN is unique in Indonesia due to its commitment to education and community outreach programmes, in addition to exhibitions. We are currently in the process of researching and designing a variety of programs that will appeal to different audiences and we will have more information to share about these initiatives in the future.

How do you see the enthusiasm of the Indonesian public in the know of contemporary art?
It’s a very exciting time right now for art in Indonesia, and more broadly, Southeast Asia, as we are seeing a renewed interest in contemporary art locally, as well as increasing global interest in Indonesian contemporary art. There have always been countless talented artists here in Indonesia who desire a museum platform to share their work with the world, and many people here are curious and passionate about the arts. Indonesia is long overdue for a modern and contemporary art museum of this caliber, and we are excited to provide a place where the public can come together, access and learn more about art.

Lastly, what do you anticipate from the opening?
We are beyond excited to introduce Museum MACAN to the world, and for Indonesia to gain its first world-class museum dedicated to international modern and contemporary art. Our inaugural exhibition will showcase a number of Indonesian masterpieces that have never been viewed by the public, as well as iconic international works that have not been exhibited in decades. Our opening in November 2017 will also coincide with two of the most anticipated contemporary art exhibitions in Indonesia – The Jakarta Biennale and Biennale Jogja – creating a groundswell of momentum for contemporary art in Indonesia, and furthering the museum’s mission to strengthen the local cultural ecology.

To find out more about MACAN First Sight, follow Museum MACAN on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.