Must See Modern Art Museums in Asia

Jan 2, 2019 | ART, Asia, ESCAPE, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam

by Breaking Asia


“Art and composition tolerate no conventional fetters: mind and soul soar above them.” -Joseph Haydn (1779)

Most folks have an attuned appreciation for modern art. When traveling abroad, a large chunk of people would prefer to go to sites where they can view artistic pieces. These works serve as a window from another cultural perspective in a more contemporary light. Asia is no slack when it comes to contemporary art. These museums should be on the travel bucket list of critiques and aficionados that enjoy seeking out visual art.

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (MACAN)- Jakarta, Indonesia

The first institution for Modern and Contemporary Art in Indonesia, MACAN opened its doors on November 2017. Founded by philanthropist and art collector Haryanto Adikoesoemo, MACAN has been the home for local artists from the booming Indonesian modern art scene and international artists. The museum has earned a spot in Time Magazine’s “The World’s 100 Greatest Places 2018”.

MACAN is interactive depending on the exhibition shown, so parents with children in tow can explore around while learning. Aside from showcasing works, the museum offers an education program to teachers, to educate their students about art.

MACAN is located at AKR Tower Level M, Jalan Panjang No. 5 Kebon Jeruk, Jakarta Barat 11530, Indonesia.

Mori Art Museum- Tokyo, Japan

Named after the late real estate developer and founder, Mori Minoru, The Mori Art Museum has thematic exhibitions from mostly Asian artists. The building enclaving the museum is a testament to Mori’s love for contemporary architecture. The museum covers several genres from architecture, design, fashion, photography, and video. This museum balances the mainstream and the niche, using the power of art to provoke thoughtful reflections and unite the community. For an extra ¥500, you can access a panoramic view of the Tokyo skyline on the rooftop Sky Deck.

Mori Art Museum- Tokyo, Japan

Mori Art Museum is located at 53F Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Described by founder Ti-A as a “factory of critical ideas”, The Factory aims to spread bringing art to the community, and exposing contemporary art to masses who are more accustomed to traditional art. The structure of the museum itself is avant-garde, created from meticulously placed, recycled shipping crates. This institute holds varied programs from exhibits, talks, workshops, screenings, and performances. Inside the center holds a cafe, cocktail bar, and restaurant that serves menu items with ingredients that are locally sourced and organically grown.

The Factory Museum, Vietnam

The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre is located at 15 Nguyen U Di Street, Thao Dien ward, Dist.2, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam.

Pinto Art Museum, Philippines

A haven hidden away in the outskirts of Manila, this white-washed, Mediterranean-inspired edifice that blends into the leafy terrain contains several pieces of art collected by Dr. Joven Cuanang, the former director of St Luke’s Medical Center, one of the biggest private hospitals in the Philippines. The museum holds quirky art pieces from brilliant Filipino artists, both young and old. This spot also has a café that serves pasta, pizza, and sandwiches.

Pinto Art Museum is located at 1 Sierra Madre St., Subdivision, Antipolo, 1870 Rizal, Philippines.

MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Thailand

The first museum of its kind in Thailand. It was created from a repurposed warehouse in Chiang Mai by Parisian art and antiques dealer Jean-Michel Beurdeley, along with his late wife Patsri Bunnag, and their son, Eric Bunnag Booth. The exterior of the building is eye-catching, with its reflective, constantly changing patterns.

MAIIAM displays work of artists that have worked or lived in Thailand, and has also hosted a couple of exhibitions that addresses geopolitical issues. It has won Best New Museum of Asia Pacific award at the prestigious Leading Cultural Destinations Awards, also known as the “Oscars” for museums in 2017.

MAIIAM is located at 122 Moo 7, Tonpao Subdistrict, San Kamphaeng 50130, Thailand.

When visiting another Asian country, don’t forget to drop by these places. Or any other contemporary art sites that might seem of interest. Going to museums and art spaces to appreciate the finer arts is highly encouraged. These objects and works of wonder, tell the experiences of people from a different culture and all walks of life. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll learn.