Budi Tek on the LACMA Deal

Yuz Museum, installation view
In ArtNet, Andrew Goldstein interviewed collector Budi Tek, founder of Shanghai's Yuz Museum, on the still-not-final deal with LACMA.

The plan was and is for LACMA and the Yuz Foundation to jointly manage the Yuz Museum. LACMA would have access to loans from the Yuz's large collection of contemporary Chinese art, and the Yuz could draw on LACMA's global collection. Both would share responsibility for maintenance of the collection.

• As Tek tells it, it's the LACMA board that's moving cautiously: "…right now I'm waiting. The ultimate decision is with the LACMA board. Of course, Michael [Govan] himself is very bullish about it. But, you know, US museums have lots of board members, and it's very democratic—they want to be part of the decision-making."

• Tek plans to donate 90 percent of his collection—the Chinese contemporary art—to the Yuz Foundation. His holdings of Western art will remain in his family and are not part of the deal.

• Tek: "…the entire collection will remain in China, in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing—some of our warehouses are there—and will be there forever. The art can travel the world for shows, but it cannot move permanently to any other country." From LACMA's standpoint, that sounds something like the Guggenheim's relationship with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice.

My take: LACMA should be looking for ways to expand its presentation of contemporary Chinese art, and establishing ties with a major collection like Tek's is a logical step. Whether this specific deal is brilliant, terrible, or somewhere in-between depends on wonkish details that haven't been disclosed. One is what sort of financial commitment is required of LACMA.
Ian Cheng, Emissary in the Squat of Gods, 2015


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