Singapore Art Museum to get new director from April 1

Taking up the mantle will be the National Gallery Singapore's current director Eugene Tan, who will retain his role at the Gallery while helming the Singapore Art Museum.
Taking up the mantle will be the National Gallery Singapore's current director Eugene Tan, who will retain his role at the Gallery while helming the Singapore Art Museum.PHOTO: NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) will have a new director from April 1 - the first person to fill these shoes in three years.

Taking up the mantle will be the National Gallery Singapore's current director Eugene Tan, who will retain his role at the Gallery while helming the SAM.

The contemporary art museum in Bras Basah Road experienced a leadership vacuum following the exits of museum director Susie Lingham and chief executive Leng Tshua in 2016.

It began a search for people to fill these roles, but later decided to cease the search and run under the guidance of its board executive committee.

SAM's buildings are now closed for redevelopment works. The $90 million face-lift is slated for completion in 2021.

As the director of the National  Gallery since 2013, Dr Tan curated major exhibitions on modernism and minimalism, and also spearheaded partnerships with international museums including the Tate in the United Kingdom, Centre Pompidou in France and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.

Before joining the Gallery, he oversaw the development of the Gillman Barracks arts district with the Singapore Economic Development Board. Dr Tan was also director for contemporary art at Sotheby's Institute of Art - Singapore, and director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore.

He was also co-curator of the inaugural Singapore Biennale in 2006, and curator for the Singapore Pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale.

"We are at an important juncture for our museum's development as we undergo a major revamp of our premises," said Mr Edmund Cheng, who chairs the SAM Board.

"We have great confidence in his ability to make a positive impact and advance SAM's role as a leading museum of contemporary art through a shared vision and strong collaboration with our curators, programmers and SAM team."

Dr Tan said that SAM "has an important and distinct role to play as the beacon of creativity and inspiration for our publics in Singapore and South-east Asia".

He added: "I look forward to contributing to this exciting future for SAM to become a globally leading contemporary art museum for the 21st century, to play a role in defining global discourses on the nature of art and its role in our societies, and to using my roles as director of SAM and National Gallery Singapore to engage our publics and the arts community in Singapore in a more holistic way."