In the heart of Bukit Bintang, a private contemporary art gallery called the Urban Museum or Ur-Mu just opened its doors in 2022. The gallery features an eclectic art collection of over 100 artworks by artists mainly from Malaysia, but also from neighbouring countries.
I love visiting art galleries, yet not the type which make me feel like I need to dress up and Ur-Mu is perfect for me in that respect. Despite its numerous art pieces, Ur-Mu is not a very big gallery, so you don’t need to take a whole morning off to visit it. The Urban Museum is owned by award-winning Malaysian architect Dr. Tan Loke Mun, who personally curated each art piece for the Ur-Mu.
The building isn’t easy to find. I am at a loss when Google Maps points me towards a crossing looking straight into a residential area with older apartment buildings. Right next to a launderette, I suddenly discover a narrow and modern-looking building made of industrial steel and glass. It is hidden behind a bunch of young trees. I found my ‘hidden’ gem!
As dark-coloured as the gallery is on the outside, it turns out to be the opposite on the inside. The five levels in the house are divided into 10 themed galleries. One can access each level via the stairs or the elevator and you can enter and exit each floor from two different entry points. This creates a smooth flow and easy movement through the galleries.
Intriguing and mesmerising art
The 1st floor showcases big, beautiful captivating canvasses and digital prints which need a moment to sink in: they are intriguing and mesmerizing. My favourites are the huge digital print with four edgy-looking Asian ladies and the canvas by Fadilah Karim with two expressions embedded in one portrait of a woman. The owner also makes a reference to the big street-facing window at the back of the first floor, which will make you chuckle, as it looks like a canvas in itself.
The galleries on the 2nd floor show works related to the ‘kampung’ and agricultural life and art compositions dealing with ‘Power Play’. The prints of farmers being depicted as warriors and national heroes fighting off giant-sized pests are truly amusing and entertaining.
On the 3rd floor, the more ‘eerie’ pieces are exhibited. It includes an enormous installation of a mythical creature by Tan Zi Hao, as well as an intriguing black and red skeleton image on the wall.
Sleek interior design
The 4th floor gallery is partly dedicated to architecture with models, technical drawings and photographs and a diverse selection of other art pieces. These rooms look like they came straight from an interior design magazine with cozy sleek designer chairs and seating arrangements. It adds an extra dimension to your visit and the art experience.
The top floor involves a rooftop with a garden and sculpture lounge and is dedicated to the owner’s dear friend and late landscape designer Made Wijaya.
I left the gallery feeling very refreshed and content. It was such an enjoyable experience wandering through the different sections. There is certainly something in there to enjoy for everybody – either by giving you food for thought or just plain joy viewing the art.
Tickets need to be pre-purchased online, for slots of 90 minutes each. A maximum of 35 people is allowed per time slot. The museum is open daily, except for Mondays and public holidays, from 10am till 8.30pm (closed between 4pm and 5.30pm).
Tickets are priced at RM10 for adults. Children under 12 years of age can enter for free, if accompanied by an adult. This time I was by myself, but my primary school aged children would have enjoyed it too. Students and senior citizens pay RM5 only.
The Urban Museum is located at 3, Jalan Bedara, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. More info on the website of the museum here.
Are your kids into art? Have a look here at our list of other exciting museums in KL!