Singaporean on global art power list

Singaporean on global art power list
Dr Eugene Tan has been appointed director of The National Art Gallery, Singapore.

SINGAPORE - Singaporean curator Eugene Tan has made it to the influential ArtReview magazine's annual list of 100 most powerful people in the art world.

Dr Tan, 41, director of the National Art Gallery, Singapore, is ranked 95 on the list, which also includes controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (No. 9); American gallerist Larry Gagosian, of the international namesake gallery chain (No. 4); and the British director of Britain's Tate art institution, Sir Nicholas Serota (No. 6).

This is the first time a Singaporean has made it to the roll of honour, compiled since 2002 by the London-based art magazine. The ranking is based on a combination of factors including influence over international art production, financial clout and activity in the previous 12 months.

Dr Tan was recognised for his efforts in setting the stage for Singapore's rise as a South-east Asian arts hub, with the development of art enclave Gillman Barracks and the National Art Gallery.

Formerly programme director of special projects at the Economic Development Board, Dr Tan wooed 14 pedigree galleries from 10 countries to open at Gillman Barracks off Alexandra Road last year.

Since his appointment to the National Art Gallery in May, he has also been working to raise the museum's profile as having the world's largest public collection of modern South-east Asian and Singapore art. The museum is slated to open in 2015.

On making the list, he tells Life!: "I am pleased that the developments in Singapore's visual arts landscape are being recognised internationally."

As this development continues, he adds: "Singapore looks set to become an important centre for art globally."

Topping the list released yesterday is Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, sister of Qatar's Emir and chairwoman of the Qatar Museums Authority. She joined the list at 90 in 2011 and rose to 11 last year.

Her spot is cemented by the art organisation's tremendous buying power; it spends an estimated US$1 billion (S$1.2 billion) a year to buy top works of art for its museums. It is also widely thought to have been behind the record US$250-million purchase of a version of Cezanne's The Card Players (1895) last year, making it the most expensive painting ever sold.

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