New Yuz Museum Shanghai venue continues late founder's focus on world art

Wang Jie
As a non-profit institution, the museum founded by Budi Tek aims to be a leader in exhibiting contemporary Chinese art and to build a reputation for contemporary art in China.
Wang Jie


Since its opening in 2014, Yuz Museum Shanghai has made a name for itself as one of the most interesting new additions to Shanghai's art scene. As a non-profit institution, the museum aims to serve as a leader in exhibiting contemporary Chinese art and to build a prominent reputation for contemporary art in China.

The museum was founded by Budi Tek, a Chinese-Indonesian entrepreneur, philanthropist, and collector. Born in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to a Chinese family, Tek studied in Hong Kong and Singapore from 1969 to the 1970s. In the 1980s, he went to the United States for further study, and built a corporate empire in the agricultural industry.

In 2007, he established the Yuz Foundation, and followed that by opening the Yuz Museum Shanghai in 2014. Tek was an Asia-Pacific member of Tate Britain. In 2017, he was awarded the Officier de la Légion D'honneur, France's highest merit.

The museum's name, Yuz, is derived from Tek's Chinese name, Yu Deyao.

Tek never hesitated to share his collections. He donated a number of Chinese contemporary artworks to the Centre Pompidou, the Singapore Art Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

"This is the job of the Yuz Foundation, to participate on the world art stage," Tek once said. "It is also our responsibility to encourage well-known art museums in the West to pay more attention to top Chinese contemporary art, and to assist them in collecting Chinese contemporary art items in a systematic manner."

The museum is committed to drawing the world's attention to Shanghai, advancing the development of contemporary Chinese art, actively engaging in the field of art education, and promoting cultural dialogue between East and West.

Yuz Museum Shanghai has been the home of many internationally acclaimed exhibitions including the world's largest Giacometti Retrospective; the Rain Room; the Asia premieres of Andy Warhol's "Shadows"; KAWS's first institutional exhibition in mainland China, "Where the End Starts"; and "Charlie Chaplin: A Vision."

It is a great loss that Tek passed away in 2022.

Even now, many art fans remember the Giacometti exhibition in 2016 in Shanghai because of its outstanding quality and standard.

The exhibition was also the one Tek was most proud of at the museum. Despite being unwell, he insisted on attending the opening event. He flew from the United States, where he was under treatment, to Shanghai, saying that otherwise, "it would be a regret for the rest of my life."

Architecture Style

In 2023, the Yuz Museum Shanghai moved from its original venue on the West Bund to Panlong Ancient Town.

The museum's former venue was built inside a 9,000-square-meter aircraft hanger on the previous site of Longhua Airport. It was designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, who designed London's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion and won the Marcus Prize for Architecture in 2013.

Utterly different to its previous image, the new Yuz Museum Shanghai in Panlong Ancient Town, renders a fresh new look to the public.

Residing by the river, the museum conjures up scenery that bridges tradition and modernity, nature and history.

Chinese architect Zhu Xiaofeng and his team referred a lot to the traditional residential houses of Jiangnan in their design.

The design employs the two basic structural forms of "mountain wall" (山墙) and "double slope" (双坡), often seen in the traditional residential houses in Jiangnan.

The mountain wall is divided in half, which becomes the semi-support structure of the building. The double-slope roof is transformed into a reverse inward slope, which becomes the outward "double flying eaves."

New Yuz Museum Shanghai venue continues late founder's focus on world art

The fusion of the old and the new, the interweaving of the internal and the external, maintain a direct relationship with the traditional structure, while at the same time forming a basic language of the entire architectural settlement.

Passing through the west side corridor and the courtyard at the entrance, visitors enter the museum via a river corridor to the north.

The 440-square-meter square exhibition hall to the south of the foyer, with four interlocking steel beams supporting the roof, gives a large column-free space with a common structural section. Natural light is filtered from the skylight and light film at the top, providing a soft and cohesive lighting in the exhibition hall.

On the west of the foyer lies a 100-square-meter small exhibition hall with a view of outdoor scenes with rice paddies and lotus ponds.

The museum takes the foyer as its core, establishing a richly layered spatial and temporal experience among the atrium, exhibition halls, café, veranda, rice paddies, and the waterfront.


A small coffee shop is sited at the entrance area. Facing the river scene that stretces in front of one's eyes, visitors can take a short break to enjoy a leisurely time after a stroll through this ancient town on the city's suburbs.

The décor of the Yuz cafeteria is simple and clean, perfectly echoing the atmosphere of the whole structure. Nearly all types of coffee and tea cost less than 30 yuan (US$4.21). Visitors can also order a pizza, sandwich, or spaghetti for a quick lunch.

New Yuz Museum Shanghai venue continues late founder's focus on world art

Gift Shop

Best Sellers:

In 2022, the solo-exhibition of Yoshimoto Nara, the world-famous Japanese artist, which was also his first overseas retrospective, was displayed at the Yuz Museum. Organized by the Yuz Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition covered more than 70 major Nara works, ranging from painting, sculpture, and ceramics to installations.

The fever toward Nara from local art lovers continues via his art derivatives.

1. VacuumcCups with two of Nara's designs -- "Rock'n Roll" and "Singing in the Rain."

Both come with a storage bag with a drawstring.

2. Original sized poster for Nara's work "Low Fever," created in 2021.

3. Poster for Nara's work "Julie, the Little Thinker" created in 2011.

Opening hours: 11am–7pm (closed on Mondays)

Address: No.8, Lane 123, Panding Rd


New Yuz Museum Shanghai venue continues late founder's focus on world art

Vacuum cups with two of Nara's designs - 'Rock'n Roll' and 'Singing in the Rain' are on sale.

Special Reports