“I believe that young people with big passion, under proper leadership, can really do great things and contribute to the company they work for and the society they live in. I started with my children,” Haryanto Adikoesoemo, Head of AKR Corporindo and Founder of Museum MACAN, tells Chris Hanrahan.
“As a leader, I really believe in challenging the team that works with me,” says Haryanto Adikoesoemo. “I want all team members to push forward towards the bigger goal that we are going for. I ask difficult questions, and I am very hands-on in working alongside my teams – both in AKR Corporindo and the museum.”
The son of Soegiarto Adikoesoemo, founder of AKR Corporindo, he is the leader of a powerful logistics and supply chain company engaged in the trading and distribution of petroleum and basic chemicals. Soegiarto founded the company in 1977. He built an extensive network of liquid bulk and dry bulk storage, transportation facilities and port operations.
Always ready to support industrial development in Indonesia, AKR is developing large integrated industrial estate and port facilities in East Java that will provide logistics, energy and infrastructure solutions to companies. AKR, Haryanto points out, is committed to continuously growing in a sustainable manner to create value for its stakeholders.
“I dedicate my time and energy to nurturing young leaders, as I believe that young people with big passion, under proper leadership, could really do great things and contribute to the company they work for and the society they live in,” Haryanto goes on.
“I started with my children. I have exposed them to working life since they were young, I brought them to staff meetings when they were on school breaks, and later I encouraged them to take up crucial roles within the company. I believe that experience and perseverance, and hard work and empathy, are key when it comes to being a leader.”
What did Haryanto learn from his father about entrepreneurship? “Mostly to be able to identify opportunities and to turn them into real business,” he replies. “Running a business successfully is about finding ways to be sustainable by building a team that is passionate and smart, and has good integrity and teamwork to achieve our common goals.”
Outside of his dedication to the family business, Haryanto’s first love is art. Indeed, he brought smiles to the faces of art lovers in Indonesia and beyond when he opened the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, or Museum MACAN, at Kebon Jeruk in November 2017.
His private art museum is truly world-class. Time included it in its list of “The World’s 100 Greatest Places 2018”. “Indonesia’s famously vibrant modern-art scene finally has the home it deserves,” wrote Associate Editor Suyin Haynes.
Museum MACAN’s growing collection focuses on modern and contemporary art from Indonesia and around the world. “As part of the museum’s mission, we encourage curiosity, appreciation and research into our holdings,” Haryanto says.
The collection focuses on modern and contemporary art from Indonesia, Europe, America and Asia. Drawn from Haryanto’s own collection, which he has put on long-term loan to the museum, the collection has been developed over more than 25 years and is actively growing. It comprises prominent artworks from Indonesia, Europe, North America, China and other parts of Asia. Highlights of an exclusive interview with Prestige:
When and how did you become an art lover?
One of my most memorable encounters with art was through a good friend of mine. I was visiting his house in Bali, and was immersed in the artworks around the house. It was a mind-blowing experience for me to witness how art could transform a place and be a part of our daily lives. Since then, I researched and studied more about art, and since then art has become a part of my life.
What was the first work of art you bought?
S. Sudjojono, because he is the father of Indonesian Modern Art. He also has a colourful background of being the founder of Persagi (the first artists association In Indonesia) and a former Parliament member representing the Communist Party (although one year later he decided to quit the party because he was a Catholic). He is also a patriot and an excellent artist.
How do you choose the art you buy now?
Throughout my journey as a collector, I have learned that knowledge and dialogue are such integral parts of acquiring artworks. I read regularly to keep in the know about latest developments, and I enjoy doing rigorous research before any acquisition. If and when possible, I like to engage in conversations with the artists, to know more about their thought processes and creative journey.
What is your favourite way of acquiring works of art?
Since art collecting has become a lifelong hobby for me, I enjoy visiting auctions, fairs, galleries and also artists’ studios. I’ve always enjoyed the encounters with like-minded people that is a part of collecting art. I have developed many friendships with galleries, curators, auction houses and artists to understand trends and to identify good artists. For example, in the early 2000s, I met and became good friends with a few French galleries, who taught me about Western contemporary artists. It was a turning point for me. It was then that I started collecting Western contemporary art.
Which great art collectors do you most admire?
Joseph Hirshhorn (the American entrepreneur and financier). In his time (1899-1981), he used to go to art exhibitions and buy all the artworks on display; of course at a good deal. He donated more than 12,000 artworks, which now makes up the collection of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (beside the National Mall in Washington, D.C.).
How would you describe your relationship with art? Does collecting become an addiction after a while?
It’s definitely grown to be a life-long relationship that I share with my family, too. Our family trips are always imbued with museum or gallery visits, and my children (especially Fenessa, the Chairwoman of Museum MACAN Foundation) have been exposed to auctions, fairs and studio visits since early in their lives.
In terms of growing the collection, after a while you learn the global history of art and find what you really like. I would not say it’s an addiction, rather a growing relationship.
Contemporary art is very important to you. How do you keep up with the new artists as they emerge?
I read a lot, and I don’t keep it to myself. A collector is an integral part of the art industry in general, and I’ve come to realise that collectors can really help artists to grow and develop their careers.
Museum MACAN is a leader in its field. What will you do to maintain its important position in the art world and even to extend its influence beyond Indonesia?
Sustainability is a major issue that all museums around the world face. I believe that it’s very important for museums to be relevant to the public. Societies around the world change rapidly, including here in Indonesia, a massively developing country. As part of the community, museums need to address current issues, invite visitors to reflect upon crucial histories that bring us to where we are today and open dialogues among different groups in society.
““Sustainability is a major issue that all museums face. I believe it’s important for museums to be relevant to the public””
When you were planning MACAN which of the famous museums you have visited around the world did you benchmark?
Visiting museums has been a source of joy in my travels. Among the museums that I look up to is the Hirshhorn, a respected institution that has Joseph Hirshhorn’s collection as its backbone. Institutions like that really opened my eyes in terms of how private collections get a whole new meaning when they are properly managed and opened to the public. I am also proud to be sit on its Board of Trustees.
In line with the goal to share my collection with the Indonesian public, MACAN has three core missions: in developing arts education in the country, providing a platform to showcase relevant works from Indonesia and around the world, as well as an institution that provides professional development opportunities for artists, curators and other arts-focused young professionals.
MACAN has many unique qualities, one of them being its mission to play a crucial role within the Indonesian society, with a global vision to be an active cultural institution on an international level.
If you could invite any artist you admire to dinner, who would you most want to meet?
If I could invite Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy and Keith Haring to dinner, I would ask them to paint graffiti in my home and ask each of them what was going on in their minds when they created it.