The Art Report Spotlight: National Gallery Singapore Top 10 Must See, Do, Eat, and More
The Art Report is pleased to focus this month’s Spotlight on the National Gallery Singapore, which is currently holding a major exhibition titled “Century of Light,” a special presentation of two exhibitions focusing on the art of the 19th century: first, a comparative exhibition of two major Southeast Asian artists, Juan Luna (Philippines) and Raden Saleh (Indonesia) in “Between Worlds,” and second, the complementary exhibition of Impressionist works in “Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musee d’Orsay.” Read The Art Report on the Juan Luna exhibition here, “Colours of Impressionism” here, and other helpful information about the National Gallery Singapore (and other interesting places to visit, eat, and shop at the museum) below. Download the National Gallery Singapore’s app here. The exhibition runs until 11 March 2018. Please visit this page again for further updates on articles and news clips on this Spotlight.
The Art Report recently visited National Gallery Singapore just to visit its “Century of Light” exhibition, but found other compelling reasons to stay a bit longer. The Art Report recommends booking a ticket to Singapore for this breathtaking show–but here are more reasons to do so!
1. “Between Declarations and Dreams: Art of Southeast Asia Since the 19th Century.” Currently at the UOB Southeast Asia Gallery in the former Supreme Court Building, the exhibition is a fascinating survey of Southeast Asian art (yes, including Philippine art). Broad and powerful, the exhibition is a collection of the region’s visual art through the period of transition into modern and contemporary art as we know it now. Particularly poignant is the look into how the region translated its historic, artistic traditions into the modern art language.
2. The National Gallery’s architecture. The Gallery is stunning. Take time to explore the marbled halls of the former City Hall and Supreme Court Building, the actual courts, the grounds up to the topmost roofdeck with a sweeping view of the city. There are scheduled tours, but going around on your own with the help of the map and info guides is just as enjoyable.
3. Visit the exhibitions featuring works from the Xiu Hai Lou collection, the artists Wu Guanzhong and Chen Chong Swee. Overload (happily) on beautiful Chinese calligraphy and painting techniques. Absolutely spectacular.
4. Explore the site-specific installation of Rirkrit Tiravanija in the Roof Garden. The installation is a large-scale bamboo maze with a tea house in the centre. Visit the link for information on free programs in conjunction with the exhibition.
5. Download the National Gallery Singapore app (iOS here, Android here). It’s a great companion to have on your visit, with listening guides on particular exhibits and artworks. The event listings, contact information, museum schedules and the like are extremely handy, too, as you prepare for your trip–you can easily sync your plans with on-going activities (such as events, film showings, lectures, and talks) held in conjunction with current exhibitions.
6. Chat with the “Colours of Impressionism” Chatbot. Do this now, even if you’re not in the gallery: search for “Colours of Impressionism” on Facebook Messenger and chat with this cool feature. The chatbot offers information on ten highlights from the exhibition’s collection, as well as “Art of Seeing Art” that shares how Impressionist artists painted in that period and other cool info on that movement. You can also opt for the audio guide that takes you to the app, which will guide you through the exhibition.
7. Shop at Galleryand.co at the City Hall Wing. One of The Art Report’s favourite museum shops, Galleryand.co has a wide selection of items and exhibit-themed products whose coolness factor easily takes them to a level beyond run-off-the-mill museum merchandise.
8. National Kitchen by Violet Oon.* Former food journalist and now celebrated chef, Violet Oon has a beautifully appointed location at the National Gallery. Indulge in rich and flavourful Peranakan food; beautiful, sophisticated interiors add to the refined and authentic experience. If you have to to eat at one restaurant in the Gallery, this one is it–you’re in Singapore, so enjoy the cuisine! Everything’s good, but the must-try is the dry laksa and beef rendang. (*Tried and tested by The Art Report.)
9. The casual and fine-dining options. Check out Courtyard Cafe in the Supreme Court Wing (local dishes) and the Gallery & Co. Cafeteria at the City Hall Wing (cafe, bistro food) for some casual dining. For a special dinner, head to either Aura (Italian), Odette (French), or Yan (Cantonese).
10. Food and drinks with sweeping views. For sunset cocktails or after-dinner drinks, head to Aura Sky Lounge and Smoke and Mirrors, both at the rooftop of the City Hall Wing. Elegant and cool, these rooftop bars feature the best views of Padang and Marina Bay.