Budi Tek, one of the world’s most influential patrons of Chinese art, has died at the age of 65

Budiardjo “Budi” Tek, the famous Indonesian-Chinese art collector who founded the Shanghai Yuz Museum, has died of pancreatic cancer. He was 65 and had been diagnosed with the disease six years ago.

“As one of Asia’s top collectors, Mr. Tek gathers but never hesitates to share,” his family wrote in a statement confirming his death on March 18. “He spends his lifetime cultivating talents indefinitely.”

Tek earned his fortune as head of the vertically integrated poultry company PT Sierad Produce Tbk and began buying art in 2004. In the following years, he managed to assemble a collection of more than 1,500 pieces focusing on the contemporary Chinese art of the politically turbulent 1980s. ere and 90s.

Then, in 2014, he founded the Yuz Museum inside a 9,000-square-foot former aircraft hangar in Shanghai’s West Bund. (The name comes from the possession of his Chinese name, Yu Deyao.) Over the years, the museum has hosted blockbuster shows by international artists such as KAWS, Alberto Giacometti and Andy Warhol; studies of Chinese art; and spotlights on audience favorites like Random Internationals Rain room.

Everything changed the year after Tek’s museum opened its doors when he received a devastating diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Originally told that he might not last the year, he managed to survive longer than many doctors expected, and quickly set about planning the future of his collection.

In 2018, Tek announced plans for a unique partnership with the Yuz Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The plan was to launch a foundation that would oversee his holdings and allow for its rotating exhibition at both museums. The following year, the partnership expanded to include Qatar museums.

A selection of 20 works from his holdings by artists such as Ai Weiwei, Xu Bing and Qiu Anxiong were shown at the Los Angeles Institution last year in “Legacies of Exchange”, the first fruits of the collaboration.

Yuz Museum.  Photo courtesy of Yuz Museum, Shanghai.

Yuz Museum. Photo courtesy of Yuz Museum, Shanghai.

“Budi Tek has been a great inspiration to me and LACMA, and encouraged us to connect East and West, Los Angeles and Shanghai with contemporary art,” LACMA Director Michael Govan told Artnet News. “By establishing a foundation and his groundbreaking Yuz Museum in the West Bund in Shanghai, Budi helped spur the growth of museums in Shanghai, which is now truly an international center of contemporary art. Personally, Budi was a great inspiration to me. in his commitment to art and his many creative ideas, especially as he bravely confronted his advanced illness for many years. ”

In the end, the collaboration with LACMA hit roadblocks due to not only the pandemic and Tek’s deteriorating health, but also strained relations between China and the United States as well as Chinese law, which prevented Tek from making the Yuz Museum a public institution once he had imagined .

Although Govan said it was “impossible to establish the common foundation between LACMA and Yuz in China that we had planned”, Tek donated several of the “legacies” loans to LACMA. “Ai Weiweis Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads… Remains on LACMA and is currently being reinstalled outside the center of LACMA’s campus. “

Installationsvisning af Circle of Animals / Zodiac Head at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2021. Courtesy of LACMA. “width =” 1024 “height =” 795 “srcset =” https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/07/430934prs -1024×795.jpeg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/07/430934prs-300×233.jpeg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021 /07/430934prs-50×39.jpeg 50w “sizes =” (max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px “/>

Installation view of “Legacies of Exchange: Chinese Contemporary Art from the Yuz Foundation” with Ai Weiweis Circle of Animals / Zodiac Head at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2021. Lent by LACMA.

Tek’s death comes less than two weeks after the opening of the Yuz Museum’s long-awaited Yoshitomo Nara show, another collaboration with LACMA and the Qatar Museums.

“Budi was a true patron and a true friend to artists,” said Marc Glimcher, president and CEO of Pace Gallery, which represents Nara. ART news. “He helped establish Shanghai as a global art center by creating the Yuz Museum, a true 21st-century model in which one person’s protection and involvement benefited the entire city.”

Tex’s daughter Justine Alexandria will remain CEO of the Yuz Museum and director of the Yuz Foundation, according to Kunstavis.

In a 2019 interview, Tek told Artnet News about his vision for the future of his art and how it fit into his broader understanding of his legacy. “In China, there is a ‘big me’ and a ‘small me’. So it’s a ‘small me’ that speaks now; To become the ‘big me’, you have to sacrifice yourself to contribute to the bigger ‘. me ‘, which is society – the world, ”said Tek.

“I am also a Christian, so I believe in the Bible, and it says that giving is more blessed than receiving. Maybe that’s why I experienced a miracle. All the doctors said, ‘You only have six months to a year,’ and I’m getting better every day. So if you were in my position, you would see why I feel like giving. I do not know how long I want to live, but I intend to live longer. “

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