SAM wants you, la.

NATIONAL Museum of Singapore, check. Next on the list – the Singapore Art Museum.

Singapore Art Museum (SAM) was once the Fine Art Museum, and it’s right across the street from the NMS. It’s the proverbial “hitting two birds with a single stone,” pardon the cliché, and there’s absolutely no excuse why you missed one of the two.

After restoring the 19th St. Joseph’s Institution Catholic boy’s school building in 1996, SAM opened as one of the first art museums in Southeast Asia with international standard museum facilities and programs. With a mission to preserve and present the art histories and contemporary art practices of Singapore and the Southeast Asian region, the museum started acquiring works* of art by iconic and up and coming artists from across the region. Today, with almost eight thousand (and growing) artworks in their collection, SAM holds one of the world’s largest public collection of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian artworks.

Sulu Stories. 2005. Yee I-Lann, Malaysia
Flying Angels. Heri Dono

The art I love lives in this museum — contemporary art in its diverse practices — painting, sculpture, installation, film and video, photography, new media, performance art and sound art, and by the region’s iconic living artists. And through forged partnerships with other art institutions, the regional art gets international exposure, and in turn, Singapore’s art scene is invigorated by the inflow of ideas, talents, knowledge and resources from abroad. One of these alliances is with a French institution, the Centre Pompidou.

The Centre Pompidou is one of my favorite museums in Paris. Just like its architecture, the art it exhibits is innovative and ahead of its time, its individuality is distinctive amidst the fine art houses of Renoir, Monet, Picasso, Degas, etc. For me, it’s one of the most exciting places to visit in Paris and SAM brought a piece of this excitement to Singapore.

While SAM’s exhibition of Southeast Asian talents in Negotiating Home, History and Nation (where Filipino artists were part of) is a personal favorite, the collaborative presentation of SAM and the Centre Pompidou was the most stimulating, Video, an Art, a History 1965-2010. A Selection from the Centre Pompidou and Singapore Art Museum Collections.

On exhibit until the end of September, “new media traveling exhibition with an added Southeast Asian touch” showcases SAM’s own collection of video works and installations by Southeast Asian artists alongside Centre Pompidou’s collection by internationally renowned artists. Based on the video and multimedia installations of the Centre Pompidou and SAM, the exhibition recounts the history of this very contemporary field punctuating the main phases of contemporary art from 1965 to 2010.

Collaborative exhibition: SAM & Center Pompidou.
I so love this installation. Faces projected on blank heads.
Super emote in Peter Campus’ “Interface” video installation.
Video time…..
Look mom, I’m on TV!…super emoting again that I forgot to take down the artist’s name…Help me SAM?

SAM makes it a point that art is to be enjoyed by the whole family. There is something for the next generation of art lovers at the Art Garden, a well-loved presentation by the museum where Singaporean artists are commissioned to create imaginative and interactive contemporary installations. It must have drawn out the kid in me, I stayed in this area longer than planned.

This visit sealed the deal. SAM will be at the top of my list whenever I find myself in the Lion City. SAM wants me, I am returning the love.

Tree of Love by Ben Puah. Paper-mache sculptures, newspaper & wood.
Mummy Dearest by Justin Lee. Interactive installation designed for the young.
Foreground: Elephant at Rest. Fiberglass. Background: Dancing Solar FLowers by Alexandre Dang.

* Building a National Contemporary Art Collection. An artwork is acquired for its artistic merits and innovation, as well as what it may reveal or reflect of wider developments in art and society. The artists represented in the SAM collection fall into three broad groups: the ‘pioneering’ contemporary artists or ones associated with avant-garde practices, mid-career artists, and emerging practitioners. Through its acquisition policy and continued funding support from the government, individuals and corporate donors, SAM is able to include iconic works of art in its collection, encourage artists to create important new works through artist commissions and showcase the best in contemporary art from the region.

SAM’s acquisitions policy devotes 80% of funds to Southeast Asian art, and the remaining 20% to the wider Asian region, such as China, India, Korea and Japan to provide a broader cultural context for the core collection.

For more information about the Singapore Art Museum, visit their website: http://www.singaporeartmuseum.sg/

And for more photos about this story & other travel stories, visit: http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ &http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 25, 2011.
not all images in this blog appeared in the published story.



I am the third artwork. Self-imposed installation.

Calligraphies by Tan Oe Pang

Money Suit. Vincent Leow

Under Estimate.  Apotik Komik

Committing Suicide Culture: The Only Way Thai Farmers Escape Debt. Vasan Sitthiket

Untitled. Nguyen Minh Thanh. Vietnam.
Gloria Patria (top & bottom).  Agus Suwage 

Saya Goreng Kamu II. Mella Jaarsma, Indonesia.

Jembar Negarane, Cupet Pikirane. Eko Nugroho, Indonesia.
Where is Navin?  Navin Rawanchaikil

Amazon Series. Vu Dan Tan, Vietnam

Bayang Bayang Maha Kecil #9.  Tita Rubi

Lang Kacang. 1991. Bayu Utomo Radjikin, Malaysia.
Finally, meet Walter….

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