Art World Forum held its second annual Singapore event on 27th September 2017.
The theme for this edition was “Creating Markets: Opportunities, Challenges and the Mainstream”. The day-long event featured talks and panel discussions from a wide range of the art world’s stakeholders.
Topics at the Art World Forum 2017 held in Singapore on 27 Septmeber include the value of art and its marketplace, the prominence of digitalisation with the introduction of virtual reality, art and philanthropy, and the working dynamic between the various players of the arts ecosystem.
Founded by Anni Oates and Veronica Neo, Art World Forum’s objective is to provide its participants the opportunity to network with leading experts in the art-business industry from around the world and learn how the art market interacts with business, financial, consumer and knowledge markets so that they can develop strategic alliances that may lead to business opportunities and social impact.
Oates explains that they chose to
launch the forum in Singapore as it was close to home, familiar and a great starting point. Despite the potentially young art scene, it posed an exciting dynamic in being able to contribute to an aspiring art market before exploring new geographies, regional markets or even further.
When asked what were the challenges in putting together such a forum, Oates answered that
as a start-up, the greatest challenge has been to source for consistent support and engagement at our various events. Being involved in a start-up means that hurdles and complications are inevitable. Having said that, it is also what keeps us on our toes.
The Forum’s participants included art practitioners, educators, and curators like Milenko Prvacki, (artist and Senior Fellow at LASALLE College of the Arts), Khai Hori (Curatorial Director at Chan & Hori), artist Ruben Pang, Michelle Ho (Assistant Director at the ADM Gallery, Nanyang Technological University Singapore) and Scott Breton (artist and Co-Founder of The International Arts and Culture Group) who spoke about their own practice and methodology.
Prvacki noted that there has been a significant increase in art infrastructure and activity in Singapore over the last two decades, but there still needs to be more emphasis on teaching art appreciation to the younger generation through outreach programmes in primary and secondary schools.
In discussing what makes art valuable, Hori said that as a curator, he looks out for artworks that pose a lot of questions to the viewer but do not necessarily provide all the answers. He added that as a curator his emphasis is on elevating Singaporean and Southeast Asian artists into the international arena and that an artist’s work should have a global reach and not be dependent on an understanding of the local context.
A discussion on art as an asset class revealed that there are broadly two types of collectors: those who invest in art as they would in other commodities, with a view of making a profit and the other who acquire art as part of a trust in order to leave a lasting legacy. The panellists also highlighted that the rise of Chinese contemporary art has been largely fuelled by the rise of the Chinese economy as Chinese collectors prefer to buy local art.
The role of art in building a dynamic society and how individuals and corporates can contribute to increasing a city’s cultural capital was also discussed in a session on Art and Philanthropy. Kola Luu, Director of Partnership Development, National Gallery Singapore, revealed that philanthropy in the arts is still limited in Singapore and that people prefer to give to other sectors such as religion and education, since art funding is considered as elitist or non-urgent as well as being difficult to measure in terms of impact.
The forum marks a welcome addition to Singapore’s growing art scene. While many of the art fairs and festivals feature talks and discussions, these are mainly to supplement a greater event. Oates notes that
Art World Forum is Asia’s only art business conference which aims to address international agendas currently affecting the art market and as opposed to art fairs and festivals, the discussions and opportunity to network is the essence of our events. There are plenty of opportunities where art may be viewed, displayed, sold or discussed, but how many focus on the marketplace or industry overall? That is the niche we are here to fill.
- “Empirical Atlas”: the “post-post-colonial experience” of the 21st century at Pearl Lam Galleries, Singapore – October 2017 – the latest show at Pearl Lam Galleries, Singapore, takes a look at the identities, beliefs and society in our 21st century
- A Matter of Perspective: 15 years of Singapore’s STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery – director interview – August 2017 – Art Radar speaks to the director of STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery in Singapore on the occasion of its 15th anniversary
- Art Basel HK Conversations 2017: Hong Kong artist Kingsley Ng – video summary – April 2017 – Art Radar takes a look at the key points made by Kingsley Ng in conversation with critic Valerie C. Doran at Art Basel Hong Kong 2017
- The Global Gallery: Thaddaeus Ropac at Talking Galleries 2017 – video summary – March 2017 – influential gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac opened the 2017 Talking Galleries Barcelona Symposium with a call for a return to the gallery space
- US and China museums and their communities: Asia Society summit – video – December 2016 – Art Radar recaps some of the key points from the session chaired by Asia Society Museum’s Boon Hui Tan
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