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  • Mar 21, 2019

Eugene Tan Appointed Director of Singapore Art Museum

EUGENE TAN has been appointed director of Singapore Art Museum, effective April 1. Courtesy Singapore Art Museum.

On March 21, Singapore Art Museum (SAM) revealed the appointment of Eugene Tan as its new director, with effect from April 1. Tan will continue in his current role as director of the National Gallery Singapore (NGS), concurrently heading up both institutions.   

Since his appointment as the director of NGS in 2013, Tan has spearheaded blockbuster exhibitions such as “Reframing Modernism: Painting from Southeast Asia, Europe and Beyond” (2016), Yayoi Kusama’s “Life is the Heart of a Rainbow" (2017), "Century of Light” (2017–18), and “Minimalism: Space. Light. Object” (2018–19). Under his leadership, the NGS has established partnerships with international institutions, such as Paris’ Centre Pompidou and Museé d’Orsay; South Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art; London’s Tate; and Ilham Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, presenting touring exhibitions that underscore the art historical dialogues between Southeast Asia and other parts of the globe.

From 2010 to 2013, Tan oversaw the development of the government-backed arts precinct Gillman Barracks. He has also held directorial roles at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in Singapore, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore. In 2006, he co-curated the inaugural Singapore Biennale, and in 2005, he was the curator of Singapore’s inaugural pavilion at the Venice Biennale.   

Since 2017, SAM has been undergoing a USD 90 million revamp. Edmund Cheng, chair of the SAM Board, said about Tan’s appointment: “We are at an important juncture for our museum’s development as we undergo a major revamp of our premises. We have great confidence in [Tan’s] 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.”

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