Handicrafts

Budi Tek, 65, dies; His fortune has built a vast treasury of Asian art

Unlike many of these collectors, however, he always insisted that he had a civic obligation to exhibit his art. In 2007, after a few years exhibiting his pieces in a café in Jakarta, he opened the nearby Yuz Museum, with free entry.

Even that was not enough. As his collection of Chinese works grew, he focused on an emerging art district in Shanghai along the Huangpo River for an even bigger venue. It settled on a portion of a former airfield, and in 2014 it opened its second Yuz Museum. (He later shut down the Jakarta site.)

At nearly 97,000 square feet, the Yuz is one of China’s largest art museums, with vast open halls where Mr. Tek can show off his mega-art – the main hall, built from a former hangar, offers 32,300 square feet of exhibition space. (By comparison, New York’s Guggenheim covers 51,000 square feet.) A work by Mr. Cattelan, a living olive tree growing in a cube called “Untitled,” greets visitors at the entrance.

The Yuz was just one of hundreds of museums to open in China over the past decade, a kind of corollary to the country’s rapid (and some say unsustainable) property boom. But unlike many of these institutions, which operate primarily as exhibition space for traveling shows (and these days are often empty), the Yuz is always full, having been built on Mr. Tek’s huge personal collection. . He also leveraged his relationships with other collectors and institutions around the world to mount frequent successful exhibitions, including solo shows of works by Andy Warhol and Giacometti.

Mr. Tek aspired to see the Yuz become a Chinese analogue of American museums like the Frick, the Guggenheim and the Getty: institutions open to the public built on the strength of one person’s vast personal holdings, which remain culturally relevant long after. the death of their founders. deaths.

It announced a partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2018, which would create a joint venture foundation to oversee most of its collection while giving the Yuz access to that US museum’s extensive holdings.