Budi Tek, One of the World’s Most Influential Patrons of Chinese Art, Has Died at 65

Home » Budi Tek, One of the World’s Most Influential Patrons of Chinese Art, Has Died at 65
Random International's Rain Room. Courtesy Yuz Museum
Yuz Museum Shanghai

Art collector and Yuz Museum founder Budiardjo “Budi” Tek has died at age 65 from pancreatic cancer. “As one of Asia’s top collectors, Mr. Tek collects but never hesitates to share,” his family wrote in a statement confirming his passing on March 18.

Tek made his fortune as the head of the vertically integrated poultry company PT Sierad Produce Tbk and began buying art in 2004. In the ensuing years, he managed to assemble a collection of more than 1,500 pieces, with a focus on the Chinese contemporary art of the politically turbulent 1980s and ‘90s.

The Yuz Museum Shanghai, since its opening in 2014, has exhibited international artists including KAWS, Alberto Giacometti and Andy Warhol – while pushing for greater recognition of both Chinese contemporary artists and emerging international names, The Art Newspaper reported.

Tek died 12 days after the long-anticipated solo presentation of Yoshitomo Nara – organised in collaboration with Qatar Museums and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) – opened at Yuz Museum Shanghai.

Random International’s Rain Room. Courtesy Yuz Museum

“Qatar Museums is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Budi Tek, following his long and courageous battle against cancer,” says Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the chief executive officer of Qatar Museums. In 2019 Qatar Museums joined the strategic partnership that Yuz and LACMA established in 2018. “A legendary advocate for contemporary art, especially from China and East Asia, he gave invaluable support to artists throughout that region and elevated their work on the international stage through his activity as a formidable collector, founder of museums, and generous collaborator with institutions around the world. Qatar Museums is proud to be a partner with his Yuz Museum and hopes to honour his memory by carrying on the spirit he exemplified.”

“Budi was a dear friend, an interesting friend,” says Lorenz Helbling, the founder of the gallery ShanghArt, representing many of the Chinese artists Tek collected and showed. “He was a big supporter of contemporary Chinese art – as well as a big supporter of contemporary art in China.”