Singapore: An Art Hub?
Singaporeâ€™s fledgling art scene may finally be taking off.
A flurry of events this year have generated buzz and drawn crowds to the city-state. Januaryâ€™s inaugural Art Stage, with exhibits from Ai Weiwei, Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami, attracted 32,000 fee-paying attendees. The Singapore Biennale drew a record-breaking 913,000 viewers. And come 2015, a 60,000-square-meter National Art Gallery, which is slated to be the largest visual arts venue in Singapore, will be opened to house such events.
â€œIn the area of visual art, Singapore has made tremendous progress,â€ says Tan Boon Hui, director of the Singapore Art Museum. â€œThere has been a suite of platforms and showcases that have helped put Singapore prominently on the international art scene.â€
Much of this is due to a strong state-led effort to promote Singapore as a regional arts hub. Art Stage, which returns next year, was backed by government agencies like the Singapore Tourism Board and the Economic Development Board, a government body that seeks to draw investment to the city-state. Eugene Tan, a director at the board and a former director at the Sothebyâ€™s Institute of Art, curated the local art offerings at Art Stage. Meanwhile, the Singapore Biennale, which was organized by the Singapore Art Museum, had its 6 million Singapore dollar (about US$4.9 million) budget largely funded by the government.