Singapore Art Museum (SAM) announced the opening of a new gallery at Tanjong Pagar Distripark. As the museum expands its contemporary art collection, it aims to broaden perspectives on global art practices from the region’s viewpoint. The SAM Collection includes artworks from Southeast Asia and around the world. It offers deep reflections on today’s world, tracing how art evolves in contemporary life and society. The opening of this new collection space marks SAM’s dedication to showcasing the depth and breadth of its research.

Singapore Art Museum’s Vision for Global and Regional Contemporary Art

The inaugural collection comprises various media, geographies, and subjects that capture the ever-evolving pulse of contemporary artistic expressions. It includes recently donated works by prominent collector Hallam Chow, underscoring SAM’s active engagement with donors. SAM remains committed to presenting, researching and collecting artworks that represent the materials and means of our times. It develops new narratives of the region and its place in the global environment. This approach offers entry points for considering artworks and practices that reflect our contemporary conditions.

An abstract mixed media work of art mounted on a wall illuminated by a light yellow hue.
Sun Xun’s ‘Beyond-ism’, image courtesy of ShanghArt Gallert

Annual Exhibition Cycles

Scheduled for annual rotations, the exhibitions will bring perspectives that build on its previous cycles, expounding on thematic concerns. The annual refresh aims to highlight key themes emerging from its previous show. Over time, it builds a web of knowledge. This knowledge is presented through the unique perspectives of artists from Singapore, the region, and around the world.

Donations by distinguished profiles acutely engage with the contemporary. SAM hopes the new collection gallery will showcase the possibilities and potential of art for society. It aims to encourage active participation in interpreting and defining present-day art.

A black and white photograph of a person sitting in a jail cell.
Tehching Hsieh’s “One Year Performance”, image courtesy of the artist

Historic Donations Elevate SAM’s Asian Art Collection

This year, collector Hallam Chow donated four works to SAM. Chow is a lawyer and International Partner at Haiwen & Partners. He is also a steadfast supporter of the arts.

Chow’s recent donation to SAM represents the museum’s highest-valued donation received to date. The donation includes works from eminent Asian artists such as Sun Xun’s Beyond-ism (2008-2010), Nishio Yasuyuki’s Coronation for Vacuum I (2010), Tehching Hsieh’s One Year Performance (1978-1979) and The Propeller Group’s Collision: Urban Sporty Mover (2012).

“I thank SAM for this opportunity to find the perfect home for part of my Asian art collection and to share my passion with art lovers worldwide.” says Chow. “I hope that this donation may plant the seed for future donations by other collectors so that our love for art may be shared with Singaporeans and visitors to Singapore.”

Installation art made of metal pots, pans, and containers occupying an entire wall.
Subodh Gupta’s ‘Hungry God’

Collector Contributions: Enhancing Diverse Narratives

Other significant donors who contributed works to the SAM Collection include Sameer Sain, CEO and Co-Founder of Everstone Group. His donation of Subodh Gupta’s Hungry God (2005-2006) marks the museum’s expansion to include South Asian contemporary works. Singapore Art Museum will unveil the work in its new collection gallery in 2025. Additionally, Haryanto Adikoesoemo, founder of Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara in Jakarta, donated Keith Haring’s Untitled (1985) to SAM’s ever-growing collection.

A colorful piece of art work with geometric forms.
The Propellor Group’s ‘Collision: Urban Sporty Mover’, image courtesy of the artist

These works contribute to the varied narratives of art from the region. They provide SAM the opportunity to include representative works by internationally acclaimed artists. Among them are Tehching Hsieh, Subodh Gupta and Keith Haring, who have inspired younger generations of artists in different ways. Generous donations provided SAM with significant, often less accessible works. This allows SAM to connect pivotal moments in global contemporary art with regional artistic developments. As a result, SAM can offer diverse viewpoints in its collection’s narratives. These collections are now accessible to audiences in Singapore and the region.

Singapore Art Museum’s new collection gallery will open on Level 3 at Block 39 Tanjong Pagar Distripark. Its inaugural exhibition will be held in September 2024.

Photos provided by the Singapore Art Museum.

Read more: Rich and Rare: Art Lovers Share Advice for Collectors

A life size sculpture depicting a person with wings.
Nishio Yasuki’s “Coronation for Vacuum I”, image courtesy of the artist and ANOMALY

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