Museums

Asia’s superrich build their own art museums

Posted May 9th, 2012

China, Contemporary Art, Museums


Indonesian-Chinese farming tycoon Budi Tek poses in front of a painting by Gerhard Richter during an auction preview in Hong Kong. Tek is set to open the De Museum in Shanghai next year featuring Asian and Western contemporary art, after opening his first in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta in 2008. While Asia’s new generation of wealthy are usually better known for splashing out on extravagant toys such as private jets, mega-sized yachts and supercars some, instead, have built big art collections and now aspire to showcase their refined sensibility to a wider audience. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Boston.com reports “Over the past two years Wang Wei and her husband Liu Yiqian dropped a reported $317 million on their hobby. Now they need somewhere to display the collection they’ve amassed. The solution: a private art museum that Wang hopes will impart some class to China’s flashy nouveau riche.
Wang and billionaire investor Liu are part of a new generation of wealthy Asians that is better known for splashing out on extravagant toys such as private jets, mega-sized yachts and supercars. Some, instead, have built big art collections and now aspire to showcase their refined sensibility to a wider audience.

The trend is most apparent in China, where entrepreneurs who have gotten rich off the country’s booming economy have been splurging on art, making it the world’s biggest fine art market last year for the second year in a row.

As China’s best known art collectors, Wang and her husband spent nearly 2 billion yuan ($317 million) on art in the past two years, according to a report in the state-run China Daily that quoted Wang. She declined to confirm the figure, and said “I do not like to talk about how much I spent.”

Wang’s 10,000 square meter (107,640 square foot) “Long” museum is scheduled to open in Shanghai in late October and will cost 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) a year to run. Aside from giving her a space to show off her collection of Chinese revolutionary and contemporary art, Wang said it will also help her give her nouveau riche compatriots a cultural education.

“The rich housewives have money but do not know how to spend it without shopping,” she said. “I want to teach them to be more tasteful.”

With that goal in mind, one museum is not enough for Wang. She is planning a second Shanghai museum that will start construction in August and open in October 2013.

More are in the pipeline. Indonesian-Chinese farming tycoon Budi Tek is set to open the De Museum in Shanghai next year featuring Asian and Western contemporary art, after opening his first in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta in 2008.”

Read on at Boston.com.