Art: 1, a charming modern Museum in center of Jakarta

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In lobby Art1 Museum there is a work of art from Ichwan Noor ‘Beetle Sphere’, a VolksWagen car turned into art. (photo: IO/Aldo)

IO, Jakarta – ‘Art:1 Museum’ is the official name of the cutting-edge art Museum opened in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta. The Museum started its life as ‘Mon Décor Art Gallery’, established in 1983 by Martha Gunawan. The gallery itself has several branches, such as in Plaza Senayan, Wisma Mulia, and Grand Indonesia Shopping Town.

Feeling that more space would be required to display art pieces properly, Art:1 opened in 2011 as a forum for showcasing work and holding events. Art:1 is comprised of a Museum and Art Space in a 3-storey building; it houses a permanent collection of work from senior Indonesian artists, while the Art Space itself is dedicated to rotating displays of work by contemporary Indonesian artists.

Art:1 Museum and Art Space are separated by a corridor on each floor. Both sections are decorated artistically, in excellent taste, containing paintings, sculptures, installation works, video art, and photographic work. An admission is levied on those entering the New Museum – a steep one of Rp 100,000.00/person. Entrance to Art Space is however gratis. If you want to photograph any artworks on display in either space, whether using DSLR or mirrorless camera, there is a fee of Rp 80,000.00. Note that this museum imposes the highest entry fee of any in Jakarta, or even in Indonesia.

Seductively soft lighting is a characteristic of the Museum. Before entering the Museum proper, your eyes will feast on an installation piece by the artist Sunaryo: a tall, vivid red building framed with gray statues of humans engaged in various activities. The work, called ‘Titik Jeda’ (‘Point of Pause’), represents the vision and mission of Art:1 as a space that never ceases supporting the evolution of art in Indonesia, through various activities.

Art:1 is a haven for both artists and art lovers. Located on Jalan Rajawali Selatan Raya, Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, it is a refreshing alternative to shopping at malls or eating out. The Museum’s collections are displayed in regular rotation, so that the works of both established and new artists have the opportunity of being shown.

The Art:1 Museum displays collections of established artists like Heri Dono and Affandi, while Art Space is the place for young artists to premiere their work. At one corner of the Museum, you will see a 200 x 350 cm canvas of Borobudur by Srihadi Soedarsono, titled Borobudur Love & Peace, as well as Totok Buchori’s painting, Bara Yang Tak Kunjung Padam ’09 (‘Unquenchable Embers’). The 150 x 200 cm painting depicts a man screaming into a megaphone, his hand red as if bloodied.

The various artworks displayed in the Museum are perpetually engaging, banishing all boredom. After enjoying a view of the various paintings, sculptures, etc., you can relax and have something to eat and drink in the cafeteria on the ground floor, next to the Museum’s lobby. True to its theme, the café is also abundant with fresh works of art.

Visitors are welcome from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10.00 a.m. WIB to 18.00 p.m. WIB. This Museum is a great place to visit for an unusual weekend in Jakarta.

(Muhammad Akbar)