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Arts and Theater 1
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Black Tie International:
Cultural Bridge: The Changing Face of Urban Jakarta


Cultural Bridge: The Changing Face of Urban Jakarta

Extraordinary Look at Contemporary Indonesian Art Opens at Wendt Gallery


By Edward Callaghan  Photo by John Wegorzewski


Wendt Gallery’s Joseph Manqueros, Carolyn Beegan, Andrew Hart Adler with award    winning artist Cubung  Putro in front of his installation “Ants”

Wendt Gallery’s Joseph Manqueros, Carolyn Beegan,
Andrew Hart Adler with award    winning artist Cubung  Putro in front of his installation “Ants”

Imam Abdillah’s, The Dimension of Hunting

Imam Abdillah’s, The Dimension of Hunting




New York’s prestigious Wendt Gallery opened Cultural Bridge: The Changing Face of Urban Jakarta, a premier exhibition of contemporary award winning Indonesian art that provides a fascinating look at new works that are garnering world wide attention. The VIP opening reception was attended by prominent members of the Indonesian cultural scene as well as numerous collectors and well known American artists including Carolyn Beegan and Andrew Hart Adler and designer
Berry Brown.


As demonstrated by this powerful exhibition, gallery owners Joseph and Serena Manqueros, who also maintain galleries in Laguna Beach, Vienna and Singapore, clearly have their finger on the pulse of the expanding arts scene in Southeast Asia.


For the last 13 years, Jakarta has been a burgeoning home for the arts and culture.  The face of Jakarta has been transitioning as people from across Indonesia have migrated to this metropolis and formed small ethnicity based communities. 


The multiple layers of regional and local identity found in Jakarta combined with the advances in technology; are creating a more globalized culture and an opportunity for a prospering artistic movement.  Artistic communities found throughout Jakarta are producing works that simultaneously represent not only the downtown regional diversities, but also its transitioning urban landscape.


Cultural Bridge on display at the 57th Street gallery features the front runners of the 2010 Jakarta Art Awards.  The theme, Reflection of Megacities articulates the challenges of urban life. 14 artists and 37 works are included in this very special exhibition at the Wendt Gallery.

Among the highlights of the show are Cubung Putro’s Ants, a large grid-like multi media wall installation made of ants. Using the iconic imagery of the America flag, the artist meticulously assembles them into the symbolic image, with ants spilling outside of the borders and onto the floor. In addition to its pop-like quality, the work digs deeper with an important social message.  The artist uses the ants as a metaphor to represent the action of downtown Jakarta vs. progress, which is defining itself through the westernization of this urban megacity.


Putu Wirantawan’s Wandering Soul III, an ink and pencil drawing on paper, took the grand prize in the competition.  Employing pencil and pen and using a language of personal signs and marks, the artist creates a visceral illusion of rhythmic lines. 



These lines produce quasi-ambiguous images that are further amplified through Wirantawan’s use of soft and sublime colors.  The incorporation of mechanical elements allows the more organic qualities to anchor themselves into a composition that is symbolic, suggestive and simultaneously futuristic.


Imam Abdillah’s, The Dimension of Hunting received a second place award after Wandering Soul III.   Allegorical in its compositional content, the work depicts a classic Indonesian story reinterpreted so that it is relevant to a contemporary setting of a busy, crowded city.  The scene depicts the fear and panic of the masses created by the presence of hunters pulled from the past as they swarm the streets. A dramatic and even cinematic quality sets the tone of the work and invites the viewer to evaluate the tension created by urban life in Jakarta.  The city’s impulse to develop and shift forward is set against the desire to adhere to the traditional concepts of old Indonesia.

 Cultural Bridge also highlights additional works by Tato Suryanto, Ahmad Subandiyo, Angga Sukma Permana, Aditya Novali, Faqih Alfian, Farhan Siki, Hamzah, Masriel, Nugroho Heri Cahyono, and Sujarwo.

By presenting an international collection of innovative and forward thinking artists, Wendt Gallery’s interest is to bring attention to the significance of art as a vehicle for cultural exchange.   With Cultural Bridge and other similar exhibitions, the Gallery is actively developing a Southeast Asian art program as an important component of its international collection.


In honor of Asia Week New York 2011, Wendt Gallery in the Fuller Building, 41 East 57th Street will participate in an Open House on Saturday March 19th from 10am to 6pm.  The Open House will be sponsored by the Fuller Building and will not only host exhibitions by galleries permanently located in Manhattan, but also galleries that have traveled internationally to participate in this special event.


For more information about the exhibition please visit   An extraordinarily detailed and well written exhibition catalog is available upon request.



Joyce Brooks

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