ARMA (Walter Spies)
Walter Spies was a German born artist who moved to Bali in 1927. He is credited with co-founding the Pita Maha artists collective in Ubud. The ARMA Museum in Ubud is home to a sizeable collection of Spies’ paintings. ARMA hosts numerous workshops and cultural performances. The grounds is also a showcase of Balinese architecture.
The ARMA is located at the far southern end of Ubud in Pengosekan. Afternoon traffic can get very heavy in this area. The museum grounds are sprawling and picturesque. I almost didn’t put the Arma on my list because it might be a 30-minute walk from Ubud Centre. Check the map before you go.
Neka (Arie Smit)
The Neka Art Museum is home to the works from one of my favourite local painters, the late Arie Smit. Originally from The Netherlands and a former POW survivor, Arie is credited with founding the Young Artists Movement of Penestanan. Smit influenced young Balinese artists to capture every day Bali and to experiment with colour and with more expressive forms reminiscent of 19th century Impressionism. An early form of street photography if you will.
The Neka also houses an impressive and large collection of keris or traditional Indonesian dagger.
The museum is just up the road from the Campuhan area of Ubud and across the street from the infamous Naughty Nuri’s of Anthony Bourdain fame. Visiting the Neka and having a bite at Nuri’s is what the Indonesian’s describe as, “paddle once and pass two islands.”
Located in the heart of Ubud, Puri Lukisan (palace of paintings) hosts a painting collection similar to the Neka. Here, you can view and compare the styles of the Ubud, Batuan, Sanur, and Young Artist painting schools.
If you are in the market for an authentic Balinese painting, I recommend coming here first–assuming you know nothing about Balinese art. One visit to Puri Lukisan should give you a good idea what to look for.