Singapore is home to international-standard art museums and galleries celebrating an innovative approach to design, institutions offering a glimpse into the city’s rich and diverse past, and private museums seeking to democratize access to the arts. In fact, if it weren’t for Hong Kong’s association with Art Basel, the Lion City would proudly wear the region’s cultural crown.
Below, six top art and design destinations in Singapore.
National Gallery Singapore
Housed in the former City Hall and Supreme Court building—adorned with classically proportioned columns and a skyline-defining rotunda—the National Gallery Singapore is the embodiment of a cultural landmark. The space contains an unrivaled collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art, presented through a series of permanent exhibitions exploring national identity, as well as a varied visual-arts program and visiting exhibitions.
Red Dot Design Museum
The Red Dot Design Awards have come to symbolize the perfect marriage of form and function, and at the Red Dot Design Museum, superlative creations come together under one roof. A special exhibition imagines the world of tomorrow and assembles a curated selection of award-winning concepts that Red Dot judges believe will shape the future, while items that have been lauded in the respected product-design category can be found throughout the museum.
Singapore Art Museum
The Lion City’s home of contemporary art is, somewhat surprisingly, a storied 19th-century school. Inside its halls is an impressive permanent collection of multimedia works from across Southeast Asia. Where the Singapore Art Museum really excels, however, is with its events and workshops, highlighting the importance of creativity and curiosity. It’s an emphasis underlined by SAM at 8Q, the museum’s younger, hipper extension that hosts innovative installations and film screenings.
Parkview Museum Singapore
When it opened in March 2017, Parkview Museum Singapore brought a welcome injection of cool to the city’s artscape. The passion project of late Hong Kong property tycoon and art enthusiast George Wong Kin-wah, the 1,500-square-meter space showcases pieces from Wong’s personal collection, which encompasses the largest number of works by Salvador Dalí outside of Spain and more than 10,000 pieces of contemporary Chinese art. Parkview also organizes exhibitions involving local and international artists, as well as a series of workshops and events.
Occupying the site of a former British military encampment, Gillman Barracks is an “arts cluster,” home to 12 galleries, including New York’s Sundaram Tagore Gallery and Hong Kong’s Pearl Lam Galleries. Then there is the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, a research center and visual-arts space committed to the advancement of the local art scene through hosting talks, lectures, exhibitions, and artists-in-residence programs.
Photo Caption: Opposite page:Baba House, a history museum. This page: National Gallery Singapore.
Photo Credit: Opposite page: NUS Baba House. This page: National Gallery Singapore