LIFE POWER LIST 2015

Putting Singapore in global spotlight

13) MR TAN BOON HUI, 45, director of the Asia Society Museum and also vice-president for the society's Global Arts and Cultural Programs

This year, another arts administrator puts Singapore in the international spotlight with his move to New York.

Former Singapore Art Museum director Tan Boon Hui makes it to the Power List for positioning Singapore's cultural power in France and for his appointment as director of the Asia Society Museum as well as the society's vicepresident for Global Arts and Cultural Programs.

He leads the non-profit educational organisation's global arts and cultural activities and oversees its art collections. The New York art institution is known for advancing knowledge of Asian art globally.

Earlier this year, he led the lauded Singapour en France festival that ran from March to June. It showcased the best of Singapore contemporary arts, culture and heritage in several French cities, including Paris, Lyon, Lille and Nantes.

Mr Tan says 2015 marks "a nice culmination" of his many arts efforts.

"2015 is really the year I have gone global," he says. "With Asia Society, my canvas just got bigger."

The bachelor, who is the only child of a retired bus-driver father and a housewife mother, is based full time in New York.

He is not new to the arts, having previously headed the Singapore Art Museum from 2009 to 2013, where he championed bolder forms of contemporary art and gave more home-grown artists solo shows.

In his new role, he hopes to tap his strong connections in Asia and present projects to represent "the global shift" to Asian art, what with growing institutional and collector interest in the region's offerings.

This latest appointment comes as a boost for Singapore's art administrators as more of them take on leading positions in global institutions.

Former Singapore Art Museum curator Khairuddin Hori, 40, is deputy programming director at the reputed Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and former Singapore Arts Festival and Singapore Biennale general manager Low Kee Hong, 44, is head of Artistic Development (Theatre) at Hong Kong's new arts hub, the West Kowloon Cultural District.

On his appointment, Mr Tan says: "This is hugely exciting. This is the moment for Asian art and Asian artists to enter the narrative of global art history. I feel strongly about Asian art, having spent many years of my life understanding, studying and promoting it."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 20, 2015, with the headline 'Putting Singapore in global spotlight'. Print Edition | Subscribe