Art gallery Chan + Hori Contemporary has been a model for local galleries, helping star artist Ruben Pang, among others, make it internationally. Even with the success it has had, it could not sustain itself with the traditional gallery format (New art on the Web, May 12).
Other galleries that do not have international artists on their rosters may fare even worse.
It is telling that the possibility of Chan + Hori coming back in bricks-and-mortar form will depend on "the state of real estate post-Covid", which I take to mean lowered rent (Chan + Hori evolves to survive, May 5).
The move to the Web is definitely the right direction for bricks-and-mortar galleries to take, given that online art galleries are holding steady in this downturn (Business at online art galleries holds steady, May 12).
The value of culture is intangible - we have to view these physical galleries as a social space rather than purely as a marketplace.
As we balance this new dependency on digital communications with a return to slow looking (spending time looking at an artwork in detail), there might be permanence to the hybrid model.
We need to support this vital component of the visual art ecosystem through rent subsidies or other forms of assistance if we are to keep our gallery ecosystem sustainable for the good of society.
Hua Tye Swee