Although the opening of the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) will be delayed by two years, there will be some compensating factors.
These include an overall expansion of gallery spaces by 30 per cent, and a unique floating Sky gallery offering 1,200 sq m to the exhibition capacity.
The museum currently closed for a $90 million revamp will reopen in 2023 instead of 2021 as originally planned said Ms Chong Siak Ching deputy chairwoman of SAM’s executive committee of the board and Head of the Visual Arts Cluster.
She was speaking at a press conference on Friday morning at the Practice Space in Waterloo Street, home of theatre group The Theatre Practice, to unveil the new architectural design by SCDA Architects.
Separately, replying to a question by India Se Media, Dr Eugene Tan, director of SAM and the National Gallery said SAM would also have an
Artist-in-Residence programme, although he declined to give details other than let on that it would be a Singapore artist.
The sky gallery will allow large contemporary works of art to be displayed as it will be column free. There will also be spacious new double volume entryway and gallery-cum-bridge to offer a seamless connection between the old St Joseph’s Institution and former Catholic High School buildings housing the current SAM.
Dr Tan pointed out that although SAM may be closed, the museum continues to organise exhibitions in the community as well as the region. Currently, it has an exhibit in Kuala Lumpur and another is planned for Hong Kong.
The revamp is expected to make SAM a leader in the contemporary arts in Southeast Asia. This will allow SAM to become a pivotal player in the global conversation of how contemporary art affects and guides the local culture, specifically focused on a Southeast Asian perspective. New public spaces will be included to encourage public participation and allow Singaporeans to engage in the contemporary arts.
The new, bolder design intends to show work from both international and local artists, pushing the envelope of views and culture of modern Singapore, said Dr Tan. SAM is also the organiser of the ongoing Singapore Biennale. Currently spread over 12 venues, it could also move back to the revamped SAM said Dr Tan.