Former Guggenheim Curator Leaves Post at New Indonesian Museum

He had been the director of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (MACAN).

Thomas Berghuis. Photo Ady Nugeraha, courtesy Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Yayasan Museum MACAN).

Big changes are afoot at a private museum now in development in Indonesia, where the director is leaving and two curators have signed on.

Thomas J. Berghuis left his position as curator of Chinese art at the Guggenheim Museum in 2015 to head up the Indonesian private Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (MACAN). Now, after a year and a half, he’s leaving the post. Moving quickly, the museum promises to name a new director within a month.

 

The news comes just days after Wim Pijbes, former director of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, left his brand-new job at a newly minted private museum, Voorlinden, in a suburb of the Hague.

Charles Esche. Photo Sofia Colucci, courtesy Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Yayasan Museum MACAN).

Charles Esche. Photo Sofia Colucci, courtesy Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Yayasan Museum MACAN).

“We are grateful to Dr. Berghuis for helping us lay the groundwork for Museum MACAN,” said museum founder Haryanto Adikoesoemo in a press release. “His contributions have been invaluable to our institution’s early development, and will undoubtedly help ensure its success. I understand his desire to focus on his passions of curatorial work and scholarship, and appreciate his willingness to work with us in finding the right moment to make this transition.”

At the same time, the museum announced that Charles Esche, director of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands, will join the museum as a curator, as will Agung Hujatnika, aka Agung Hujatnikajennong, an independent curator. The appointments are effective immediately.

Agung Hujatnika. Photo Diana Pfammatter, courtesy Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Yayasan Museum MACAN).

Agung Hujatnika. Photo Diana Pfammatter, courtesy Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Yayasan Museum MACAN).

Set to open in early 2017, MACAN bills itself as the first institution of its kind in Indonesia, and is the brainchild of art collector Haryanto Adikoesoemo, who heads PT AKR Corporindo, which trades in petroleum and chemicals. His holdings include Indonesian artists such as Raden Saleh and Affandi, as well as international art stars such as Anish KapoorJeff KoonsGerhard Richter, and Frank Stella.

“I am delighted to welcome Charles Esche and Agung Hujatnika to our team,” said Adikoesoemo. “Both curators have an impressive track record of organizing well-researched and thought-provoking exhibitions of Indonesian and international contemporary art. Their expertise will be a significant asset as we work towards Museum MACAN’s grand opening.”

Haryanto Adikoesoemo. Photo Yuwono Widiasta.

Haryanto Adikoesoemo. Photo by Yuwono Widiasta.


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