Remarkable collectors & philanthropists: Budi Tek - Art Collector

Issue 63, January - March 2013

This profile appeared in the Remarkable collectors & philanthropists feature, part of the annual special issue 50 Things Collectors Need to Know 2013.

Budi Tek speaking on Asia’s new private institutions as part of Art Basel Conversations in 2012. Courtesy: Art Basel

Budi Tek is a Chinese-Indonesian entrepreneur and collector whose fortune, amassed through poultry and processed foods, is impacting the art world like the goose that laid the golden egg.

Tek began collecting art around 10 years ago, initially concentrating on Chinese contemporary paintings – particularly from the 1980s and 1990s. His substantial collection includes works by international figures such as Ai Weiwei, Zhang Xiaogang and Fang Lijun as well as emerging artists. His rapid rise to prominence – in 2011, he was voted eighth on Art&Auction’s list of the top 10 most influential figures in the art world – is in part due to Tek’s willingness to lend from his collection and exhibit it worldwide. It has helped forge links with the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate in London, which invited him to join its Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee to raise awareness of Asia Pacific arts. Tek has gradually expanded the scope of his interests beyond Asian art to include Western art as well, adding works by Maurizio Cattelan, Fred Sandback, Anselm Kiefer and Adel Abdessemed to his collection.

Tek sees himself very much as an art patron as well as a collector and in 2007, he set up the non-profit Yuz Foundation to promote wider understanding of contemporary art and artists. The first Yuz Museum exhibition space opened in Jakarta the following year. A much-anticipated second museum is scheduled to open in the Xuhui District of Shanghai in 2013.

Despite his background, Tek’s collection has few Indonesian artists but it’s a gap he wants to start filling. “Building a collection is really about knowledge,” he said during an interview in Singapore. “I’m ready to buy, but I’m just not very familiar with this [Indonesian] art scene.” In 2012, Tek made the first step by exhibiting the work of Dadang Christanto, a politically-active Indonesian artist who is now based in Australia. It says much about Tek’s influence that interest in the Indonesian art market has been growing slowly with New York’s Paul Kasmin Gallery hosting the first solo show in 2011 by I Nyoman Masriadi, the top contemporary Indonesian artist at auction.

Amanda Woodard

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