Budiardjo “Budi” Tek, the collector who connected Asian art with the international audience, died on Friday in Hong Kong at the age of 65.
His death was confirmed by his family in an Instagram post. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer that Budi Tek was suffering from for the past six years. The obituary, shared by Ashok Adiceam (former director of Yuz Museum and Tek’s friend) said: “As one of Asia’s top collectors, Mr. Tek collects but never hesitates to share. He spends his lifetime cultivating talents endlessly.”
Budi Tek had a meteoric rise in the international art space. Though he only began collecting art in 2004, he had founded the Yuz Foundation by 2007. In 2014, he opened the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, one of the most prominent centres of Asian art. Since 2012, he was counted among the top global art collectors. While he primarily collected Chinese and Asian art, he also had an impressive collection of artworks by Western artists. Since 2018, the Yuz Museum started collaborating with international museums. These included the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Qatar Museum in Doha.
Born in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia, Budi Tek was of Chinese-descent. His art collection of more than 1500 artworks made Yuz Museum a hotspot of art in the region. Yuz was also special in the sense that it always aimed towards partnerships with international museums so as to take Asian art on the global scene. The international partnerships also enabled Yuz, a public institute, to hold holdings from a private collection. He once said in an interview: “[I]f you look around New York, you have the Frick, the Whitney, the Guggenheim—all of these were once private museums. I wanted the Yuz Museum to also one day become a public institution.”