SAM ropes in seasoned curator June Yap

June Yap.
June Yap.

The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) announced yesterday that seasoned Singapore curator June Yap will take up the role of director of curatorial, programmes and publications from Sept 1.

As an independent curator, Dr Yap has more than a decade's worth of experience in both the local and international art world. These include a two-year stint at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and leadership roles at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore.

She curated the Singapore Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2011, working with artist and film-maker Ho Tzu Nyen.

Last year, she was again appointed curator of the Singapore Pavilion for this year's Venice Biennale, but stepped down in December following a split in the artistic team.

While she is not the museum's director, Dr Yap's appointment helps fills a leadership vacuum in SAM, following the exit of museum director Susie Lingham last year.

Since Dr Lingham's departure, the museum has been jointly led by curatorial co-heads Joyce Toh and Tan Siuli.

Dr Yap will report directly to Ms Chong Siak Ching, deputy chair of the museum's executive committee of the board and head of the visual arts cluster in Singapore, which includes SAM.

In this new role, Dr Yap will help shape the museum's content creation and bolster the curatorial team as SAM prepares to undergo a revamp, which includes the creation of double-volume spaces and adding enhanced facilities.

She has been involved in SAM's exhibitions since the early 2000s, having served as a curator with the contemporary art museum in 2003 and 2004. She was also a member of its acquisitions committee and the Singapore Biennale 2016 advisory committee.

She says: "SAM has come a long way since it first opened in 1996. This period of rejuvenation and improvement of its buildings presents a great opportunity for reflection on the museum's historic moments, as well as to forge its future path."

Ms Jane Ittogi, chair of the SAM board, says: "I have no doubt Dr June Yap's coming in to lead SAM's team of highly capable curators will take our research and programming of contemporary art into new territory."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2017, with the headline 'SAM ropes in seasoned curator'. Print Edition | Subscribe