Yuz Museum Director Justine Alexandria Tek on Her New Function Main the Shanghai Establishment, and Preserving the Legacy of Her Father, Budi Tek - Upsmag - Magazine News

Yuz Museum Director Justine Alexandria Tek on Her New Function Main the Shanghai Establishment, and Preserving the Legacy of Her Father, Budi Tek

For Justine Alexandria Tek and Yuz Museum, 2022 was a 12 months of ups and downs. Her father, Budiardjo “Budi” Tek, the celebrated Indonesian-Chinese language artwork collector who based Shanghai’s Yuz Museum, died from pancreatic most cancers in March. He was 65 and had been identified with the illness six years in the past. On the identical time, Shanghai skilled a two-month citywide lockdown within the Spring, with a number of abrupt shutdowns, delays, and cancellations all through the remainder of the 12 months. The artwork festivals ART021 and West Bund had been additionally compelled to shut early because of the nation’s zero-Covid coverage.

The sense of unknown and upset that loomed over the Chinese language artwork world previously 12 months supplied the backdrop for my Zoom interview with Justine Alexandria in December. It was additionally 4 months after the official announcement of Justine Alexandria Tek’s appointment as museum director.

The collector Budi Tek. Picture courtesy of the Yuz Museum.

“White—if I had been to explain the 12 months in a single shade,” mentioned Justine Alexandria. “2022 was a 12 months of loss and achieve for me. White symbolizes the purest of origins, like a light-weight that may swallow up all darkness, simply as Yuz won’t cease transferring ahead. ”

The three-year-long pandemic posed unprecedented stress and obstacles for the museum’s operations. “Fortunately, we’ve got a fantastic backer,” Justine Alexandria spoke about her father sentimentally. “His enthusiasm, ardour, and braveness have modified me basically. I see them as the most important legacy he left behind.”

What artwork introduced her father was not solely ardour, but in addition motivation to stay. She advised me that in Budi Tek’s most cancers remedy, he was suggested by medical doctors to not return to Shanghai for the opening of the Giacometti retrospective in March 2016. Tek refused to remain in mattress as he felt he would remorse it for the remainder of his life if he missed the present.  As Justine Alexandria remembers, Tek by no means let go of the museum. Even in his final days, he always muttered in regards to the Yoshitomo Nara present, which opened in March 2022.

Justine Alexandria joined the Yuz Basis in 2015 (simply over a 12 months after the museum opened to the general public), turning into its director in 2017 and the museum’s CEO in 2018. Coming from a company background, she started with artist initiatives, and over the previous seven years, has grown with the museum and the inspiration, which collectively have executed and a number of other blockbuster exhibitions and vital partnerships (such because the one with LACMA and the Qatar Museums).


Yuz Museum new pavilion design rendering. Picture: © HBAarchitecture

In 2022, regardless of the difficulties, the museum didn’t cease transferring ahead. In November, Yuz Museum introduced the launch of the second part of its strategic plan, titled Yuz Stream. As its first main challenge, a brand new web site for the museum will open in Spring 2023.

On this unique Q&A with Artnet Information, Justine is outspoken about her new tasks, the enlargement of the museum, and the legacy that Budi Tek left behind. 

Inform me in regards to the previous 12 months for you and the museum. Artwork establishments and galleries skilled months-long lockdown in 2022. How did the museum address the closure, low attendance, and difficulties?

2022 was a really robust 12 months for all, and a a devastating 12 months for the Yuz. On March 5, Yuz Museum opened “Yoshitomo Nara” to public. On March 9, Yuz Museum went right into a four-month lockdown. On March 18, Yuz misplaced our beloved founder, Budi Tek.

Throughout the lockdown, we needed to stability the protection of our staff and the protection of the paintings. Thankfully for the Yuz, we had superb colleagues and safety personnel who volunteered to remain behind, stay within the museum 24/7, and proceed to assist us in monitoring the works contained in the galleries; they had been the heroes.

Throughout the lockdown, it additionally prompted us to suppose and break via the barrier of what it means to be a museum, and what we might do to proceed “museum visits” or “exhibition visits.” It gave us the chance to expertise and discover participating with our guests via varied methods.

Probably the most tough a part of all is the hassle and size we needed to go to maintain the museum once we had been robbed of essential ticketing revenue that helps the museum.

Yuz Museum lately introduced the launch of the second part of its strategic plan, Yuz Stream. As its first main challenge, the brand new museum will reopen in Spring 2023, with a brand new mannequin of “one important exhibition space + a number of triggers.” Are you able to inform us extra about this strategic plan and the brand new venue? 

As Yuz stepped into our ninth 12 months, we needed to actually incorporate one among our philosophies—that artwork could be built-in into our each day lives. To appreciate this ideology, we don’t wish to merely curate an exhibition or just showcase paintings, however join with guests and stimulate their “curiosity” about artwork, and to additional improve their want to know extra. This led to the start of the “Floating Artwork Museum” challenge—Yuz Stream—the place we hope to make use of the “encounter” to set off “enlightenment,” permitting the viewers to discover and develop their very own aesthetic ideas.

The mannequin of “one important exhibition space + a number of triggers” is to convey the artwork and exhibition to you, as an alternative of getting the guests come to the museum. Our new museum, which can open in Might 2023, will apply this idea. Whereas common exhibitions are held in the primary constructing of the museum, totally different artwork initiatives shall be up throughout the neighborhood, linking the entire neighborhood via artwork. We hope to set off the curiosity of passers-by in eager to know extra about artwork.

Though artwork is claimed to don’t have any boundaries, it really has extra limitations than we might have imagined. We hope to discover and work along with totally different establishments to attach artwork and tradition as we proceed coming into a digital-driven period of globalization. Considered one of our important focuses in for future plan is to implement the “set off” internationally.

An overhead view of the brand new Yu Deyao Artwork Museum at Panglong Tiandi in Shanghai’s Hongqiao Enterprise District.

Yuz Assortment has a deal with Asian artists and their practices. Will this focus be continued within the following years? Is there any new route for the gathering and exhibition?

Yuz has been targeted on gathering and advocating for Chinese language up to date artwork previously decade. Whereas we proceed to take action, we hope to develop and diversify our assortment. Yuz Assortment will proceed to gather beneath the instructions of “Delusion, Historical past, and Future.”

As you talked about, over the previous few years, the museum staff has finished analysis in a number of main cities in China, and naturally, the brand new museum challenge ended up in Shanghai. Is there a risk that the Yuz Museum shall be prolonged to different cities in China sooner or later? And even to different cities in Asia?

The second part of our strategic plan, Yuz Stream, is precisely how we wish to department out and have totally different encounters with totally different cities. As a substitute of constructing and bringing in “Yuz Museum,” we hope to collide with native companions and create distinctive exhibitions and packages. 


Yuz Museum new pavilion design rendering. Picture: © HBAarchitecture

I had the possibility in 2019 to interview Budi Tek, Michael Govan, the director of LACMA and Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar Museums. Any updates on this US-China-Arab partnership? What’s subsequent?

The partnership was dormant through the previous three years because of the pandemic, however we’ve got not stopped cultivating our sturdy partnership and relationship. We’re very blissful and proud to announce that our partnership will proceed and are available again stronger than earlier than.

Exchanging and sharing the distinctiveness of every assortment and exhibiting them in several establishments was the beginning of our partnership. We had the primary LACMA assortment present at Yuz again in 2019, Yuz had our first assortment present at LACMA in 2021, and Qatar may have their first assortment present coming quickly at Yuz in 2023.

On prime of what was deliberate, we are going to dive deeper into outlining schooling and public packages collectively, pondering of an modern strategy to introduce and share the exceptional variations and data on how artwork practices form, and the way these variations could also be a breakthrough of one thing new. For instance: Internally, we had in thoughts employees exchanges, exchanging of curatorial concepts, sharing methods on artwork restorations, and many others; externally, we had concepts on how one can introduce artists and their works from every area, sharing how collectors suppose and acquire, studying the historical past and tradition, and many others. We hope to alternate the expertise and data of artwork professionals.

One factor that I’m most enthusiastic about, although, within the early stage of debate, is thru this partnership, we might co-curate an exhibition collectively and design the general public packages that come together with the exhibition—really mix and discover the variations and similarities between the three nations.

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Justine Alexandria Tek together with her father Budi Tek. Picture courtesy of Yuz Basis.

When did you be a part of Yuz Museum? What was your first position on the museum?

I joined the museum in November 2015, I remembered it was the previous couple of weeks of “Rain Room” [a large-scale installation by Random International] and through the closing preparation stage of the Giacometti retrospective at Yuz the next March. My first position within the museum was head of operations, the place my important tasks had been to assist the museum arrange a sustainable construction and help the museum in its on a regular basis operations.

You’re shouldering new tasks beginning in 2022 and at the moment are really the one that leads the museum. How do you see these tasks? And the way do you see the museum within the subsequent many years? 

It’s a massive accountability and massive sneakers to fill, however I’m decided to make this accountability my life mission too.

Within the subsequent decade, the Yuz Museum will focus on rooting inside communities, being part of its each day life, turning into a driving drive in educating the subsequent era of artwork and tradition, and being a witness to the present that can in the future be an necessary historic file.  

Whats the most important legacy that your father left for you and the museum?

He left us all a tremendous assortment to share with the world, his ideology, his rules, his philosophies, and most significantly, his love and fervour for all times and artwork. He was a person who walked the speak, and I feel that’s louder than anything.

When he was identified with pancreatic most cancers, I noticed how he struggled together with his sickness, how he fought with all he had, and the way he was tormented. Within the midst of all that despair, the one factor that supported him was his religion in Jesus and his love for artwork. He by no means did not gentle up with the slightest speak of artwork. He flew again to Yuz for necessary openings regardless of his physician’s warnings, he flew to artwork festivals regardless of vomiting and fevers within the night time, and he went to go to artist’s studios and museums throughout his chemotherapy. His love and fervour for artwork are what made him the Budi Tek.

That Budi Tek based Yuz Basis and Yuz Museum, that Budi Tek groomed the staff at Yuz, and we’re the witness and the testimony of the life he lived for artwork. The Yuz is what Yuz is and shall be, and I’m what I’m now and shall be due to the Budi Tek, and that’s the best reward and legacy he left behind.

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