In Bali’s cultural capital, Ubud, the Neka Art Museum is one of the town’s big three art galleries. Founded by Suteja Neka, its airy pavilions are home to a treasure trove of Balinese and Indonesian art, as well as a collection of wavy daggers known as “keris.” The Balinese Painting Hall is a good place to explore the work of local artists.
Entrance tickets to the Neka Art Museum are affordably priced, and there are rarely lines. Tours typically focus on the evolution of Balinese art—the Lempad Pavilion is home to a world-class collection of works by I Gusti Nyoman Lempad. But, 20th-century Indonesian masters, such as Affandi and Abdul Aziz, are also worth investigating, as is the pavilion dedicated to Dutch-Indonesian artist Arie Smit. The on-site store offers background on the art of Indonesia, while signage is generally clear, and Campuhan is easy to reach from downtown Ubud.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Fans of Balinese art will want to visit Neka, Puri Lukisan, and ARMA museums, the big three Ubud art galleries.
- There are restrooms and a cafe on-site, as well as expansive gardens.
- The museum is better suited to adults or older families than to those with young children.
How to Get There
The Neka Art Museum is in Campuhan, a northern suburb of Ubud that’s reachable on foot from Penestanan and—just about—from downtown Ubud. Traffic can be hectic during peak season, and solo travelers will find motorbike taxi a quicker option than car. This Indonesian art gallery is an ideal stop on a custom tour of Ubud.
When to Get There
The Neka Art Museum is open seven days a week, year-round, with the exception of national holidays; it opens late on Sundays. Crossing between the pavilions involves coming out into the air, so you might want to bring an umbrella during rainy season. The museum is rarely crowded, so visit at will.
The Evolution of Balinese Painting
Since Walter Spies arrived in Bali in 1927, outsider influences have shaped the style and colors of Balinese art. Follow the evolution of Bali’s art and artists in the Balinese Painting Hall, which shows how Spies changed Ubud’s art and the anthropologist Margaret Mead transformed Batuan’s. Then see the influence of ink in the Lempad Pavilion.