The Yuz Museum in Shanghai. Photo: the Yuz Museum.

LACMA and Shanghai’s Yuz Museum to Collaborate on Programming

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, a private institution established by Indonesian Chinese collector Budi Tek in 2014, are planning to work together to present upcoming programming.

“For the last several years, the Yuz Museum and LACMA have been in discussion to share our collections and programs, which would bolster our offerings both in Shanghai and in Los Angeles,” a spokesperson for the Yuz Museum told Sarah Douglas of Artnews. “Though we are still working out the details, we hope to launch collaboratively created programs next year, with more to follow.”

Tek, a billionaire who has been fighting pancreatic cancer, is working to turn his private institution into a nonprofit that would be run by a board of trustees. While the museum is already registered as a nonprofit, it is managed by his company’s foundation. Tek wants to transfer ownership of the permanent collection to an NGO that would rely on sponsorship and ticket sales to keep the institution open. However, in China, private museums rarely succeed after their founders’ departure.

“The relationship between public and private museums in Asia will change, starting with me,” Tek told Enid Tsui of the South Morning China Post in April 2017. “Major museums in the West began as humble private museums and became public ones relying on public support to grow their collections and programs. Yuz will follow the same pattern.”

The museum’s landlords, the West Bund Group, which has been transforming the city’s waterfront area known as West Bund into a cultural hub, support Tek’s ambitions. Collectors Guy and Miriam Ullens also went down the same path to secure the future of their Ullens Center for Contemporary Art. The couple sold the institution to a group of Chinese investors last year and successfully led it through the transition from a private institution to an independent nonprofit and noncollecting museum.