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Posts Tagged ‘Singapore Art Museum’

Wu Guanzhong, influential and non-conformist Chinese painter, dies at 91

Posted by artradar on July 14, 2010


CHINESE PAINTING MODERN CHINESE ART

Modern Chinese master painter Wu Guanzhong passed away in late June this year, aged 91. Wu became known for using traditional Chinese ink brush techniques to produce an aesthetic that is distinctly influenced by western art, in both ink and oil mediums. In his last years, Wu donated many of his works to public museums.

Wu Guanzhong, 'The Call of the Gods', 2009, oil on canvas.

Wu Guanzhong, 'The Call of the Gods', 2009, oil on canvas.

According to The New York Times, Wu gave 113 works to the Singapore Art Museum in a donation valued at 73.7 million Singapore dollars, about $53 million in 2008. He also donated dozens of paintings to the Hong Kong Museum of Art, adding to a collection of previous gifts. Just before his death, he donated five more of his works to this museum.

The Guardian headlined that Wu “emerged from a cultural straitjacket as a modern master”. The article went on to state,

In the summer of 1950, soon after Mao Zedong had proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic, Wu Guanzhong, happily studying painting in Paris, made the fateful decision to return to China. Appointed to teach in the Central Academy of Art in Beijing, his head full of Cézanne and Van Gogh, he soon found that he was forbidden to mention those names, and felt unable to face his radical students until he could talk about socialist realism in the Soviet Union, and its foreshadowing in the art of Ilya Repin. This was the beginning of almost three decades of harassment and victimization that, for him and countless others, ended only after the death of Mao in 1976.

About Wu Guanzhong

Wu Guanzhong

Wu Guanzhong

Wu Guanzhong was born in 1919 into a peasant farm family in a village near Yixing, in east China’s Jiangsu province. In his teens, he was studying to become an electrical engineer, but Wu changed his path after attending an art exhibition at the National Arts Academy of Hangzhou. He decided to transfer to this institution to study and it was here that his talent started to blossom.

After studying both Chinese and Western painting under Lin Fengmian and Pan Tianshou, Wu graduated from the National Arts Academy of Hangzhou in 1942. After teaching art in the architecture department of National Chongqing University, he won a scholarship to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He left China in in 1947. Here, Wu studied under Professor Jean Souverbie, whom according to Wu had affected him deeply. But by 1950, he began to feel cut off from his roots and decided then to go back to China.

The three-year study in France enabled Wu to capture the essence of modern art in the West. Growing up in withinChinese culture, he also had a deep understanding of Chinese painting style. After his return to China, Wu taught at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and other institutions. He introduced Western art to his students, but the Academy was dominated by Soviet social realism and he was branded as a fortress of bourgeois formalism.” Refusing to conform to political dogma, he was transferred from one academy to another, painting in his own style.

During the Cultural Revolution in August 1966, he was forbidden to teach, write or paint. Eventually he was sent to the country to work as a farm labourer. It was only after two years that he was permitted to paint again.

Gradually, things got better. In 1973 Wu was one of the leading artists brought back from the countryside, an initiative of Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China. He was painting again, travelling around China and writing articles. His rehabilitation was marked by an exhibition of his work in 1978 at the Central Academy. From that moment, he never looked back. Major exhibitions of his work were held in the British Museum in 1988, in the US in 1988-89, in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore, and today he is recognised around the world as one of the masters of modern Chinese painting.

Mr. Wu had an impact on the way the Western art world viewed Chinese painting. In 1992, he was the first living Chinese artist to have a solo exhibition at the British Museum in London. In 1991, France made him an officer of l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2002, he was the first Chinese artist to be awarded the Médaille des Arts et Lettres by the Académie des Beaux-Arts de l’Institut de France. The New York Times

Wu’s importance within Chinese art

Unlike some other modern Chinese artists, he never found the choice of styles a problem. Asked whether he preferred the Chinese or the western style, he said: “When I take up a brush to paint, I paint a Chinese picture” The Guardian

Flower, 2000,  Ink on paper

Wu Guanzhong, 'Flower', 2000, ink on paper.

Like Van Gogh he painted not just the form, but “with his feelings”. He found inspirations in the beauty of nature. Wu’s style of painting has the colour sense and formal principles of Western paintings, but tonal variations of ink that are typically Chinese.

“Don’t be afraid of it,” he insisted, “because it is all around us in nature – in the design of the trellis in a garden pavilion, in the shadow of the bamboo leaves on a white wall… The line that connects the painted image to the real thing can never be broken.” The Guardian

In his work, natural scenery is reduced to its essentials – simple but powerful abstract forms. In rows of houses built along the contour of the hills, Wu discovered abstract patterns, the white houses with black roofs standing out against the soft grey tones of the mountains or water. In all his work, objective representation loses its importance, overtaken by the beauty of the abstract forms, lines, colours and subtle ink tones.

Wu’s works are unconventional and full of passion. In the eyes of the West, the images are very Chinese, but to Chinese viewers, the images appear modern and Western.

Read the obituaries and other related articles

JAS/KN

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Posted in Artist Nationality, Chinese, Classic/Contemporary, Drawing, Galleries, Landscape, Medium, Nature, Oil, Painting | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Singapore Museum Guide

Posted by artradar on November 11, 2009


QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE TO SINGAPORE’S CULTURAL TREASURES

Singapore is home to a diverse offering of heritage attractions ranging from arts, history, culture, lifestyle, science, to healthcare. According to the Renaissance City Plan III developed by the National Heritage Board, as of 2007 there are 52 museums located in Singapore including both private and public institutions. The focus of this guide will center on the public arts related museums including the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) and its extension gallery 8Q, the National Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, NUS Museum, Peranakan Museum, and Red Dot Design Museum.

Singapore Art Museum (SAM): opened in 1996, with the  mission to preserve and present the art histories and  contemporary art practices of  Singapore and the Southeast  Asian region. SAM has amassed the largest public collection of  modern and contemporary Southeast Asian  artworks comprising of over 7,000 artworks from mediums of painting, sculpture, installation, drawing, print, and photography.

8Q_buliding

8Q hosted the highly publicized "Masriadi: Black is My Last Weapon" exhibition in August 2008.

8Q at SAM: is an extension gallery to the main museum space showcases fresh, multi-disciplinary, interactive and community oriented programming by living artists. 8Q aims to offer visitors a diverse sampling of contemporary art practices ranging from painting and sculpture, to installation, film and video, new media, performance art and sound art.

National Museum of Singapore: Housed in its current location since 2006, the National Museum of Singapore is Singapore’s oldest museum. Designed to be the people’s museum, the National Museum is a custodian of the 11 National Treasures, and its Singapore History and Living Galleries adopt cutting-edge and varied ways of presenting history and culture to redefine conventional museum experience.

Christian Lacroix 10

The National Museum of Singapore hosted "Christian Lacroix the costumier" exhibition in March 2009.

Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM): is the first  museum in the region to present a broad yet integrated  perspective of pan-Asian cultures and civilisations.  Spread over 11 galleries and three levels, ACM presents  the story of Asia showcased in themed galleries  (Singapore River, Southeast Asia, West Asia, China, and  South Asia). Virtual hosts, in-gallery videos and  interactive ExplorAsian zones are incorporated in the  galleries as guideposts which help visitors learn more  about the multi-faceted aspects of Asian cultures.

NUS Museum: The National University of Singapore established the museum in 1997 to create an enriching experience of the social history and the art of Asia to NUS and the nation. The museum hold three separate permanent collections (Lee Kong Chian Collection, Ng Eng Teng Collection, and South & Southeast Asian Collection) as well as hosts special exhibitions like “Mapping the Corporeal: Ronald Ventura” exhibition in September 2008 and “Jendela – A Play of the Ordinary” in February 2009.

abtmuseum

The Peranakan Museum

Peranakan Museum: explores the culture of Peranakan communities in the former Straits Settlements of Singapore, Malacca and Penang and their links with other communities in Southeast Asia. Three floors of permanent galleries illustrate important rituals, practices and the material culture of the Peranakans, as well as how this unique fusion culture is viewed today.

The museum’s mission is to explore and present the cultures and civilisations of Asia, so as to promote awareness and appreciation of the ancestral cultures of Singaporeans and their links to Southeast Asia and the world.

red-dot-design-museum-singapore

Red Dot Design Museum

Red Dot Museum: The museum engages, excites and inspires its  visitors with interactive installations and interesting exhibitions on  design. It is the focal point of design and creative activities such as  design conferences, exhibitions and parties.

 

Progressively, these efforts will transform Singapore into a global city of arts and culture. Indeed, the world is noticing– media articles and analyst reports are describing how vibrant Singapore has become, and what an attractive place it is to live in….more importantly, it will provide Singaporeans with a rich cultural life, nurture the sense of pride in our heritage and history, and strengthen our identity as a nation.

~ Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, at the Official Opening of the New Peranakan Museum on 25 April 2008

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Posted in Art districts, Museum collectors, Museum shows, Museums, Profiles, Resources, Singapore, Uncategorised | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Chance to learn where Singaporean art is heading plus two firsts for emerging artist competition Presidents Young Talents at Singapore Art Museum

Posted by artradar on September 9, 2009


SINGAPORE MUSEUM ART COMPETITION

Singapore had a predicament. The city-state needed to find the young artistic voices to represent Singapore at international level art fairs and events. The problem has been solved and future Singaporean art stars are being identified with the inception of the Presidents Young Talents (PYT) exhibition, a contemporary art exhibition series featuring the 4 most promising young Singaporean artists who compete for votes from a discerning public. The President’s Young Talents exhibition first debuted in 2001, organized by the Singapore Art Museum and Istana, butPresidents Young Talents this is the first year with the online voting function that includes an interactive public.

It works like this

Four young artists are chosen by a curatorial committee, and a special work is created by each artist and exhibited at the Singapore Art Museum in the PYT exhibition.

The public can also view artworks and artist biographies online, and is encouraged to vote for their favorite artist via the PYT website from Aug 15th through Oct 31st, 2009.  One of the 4 artists will be declared the winner, and receive a cash prize and art residency abroad, sponsored by Credit Suisse. The winner of the PYT 2009 will be announced on November 6th, 2009 at the PYT Gala dinner.

The artists nominated for the show, curated by Ms. Tan Siu Li, are: Donna Ong, Felicia Low, Twardzik Ching Chor Leng, and the artist collective Vertical Submarine. This is the first year in which an artist collective has been selected to participate, and Vertical Submarine’s inclusion reflects an acceptance of the current changes in contemporary art practices.

For a quick summary Art Daily gives an overview of each work below. However for a more lively description, we encourage you to click through to the particularly well-planned website (link above) where you can see short videos in which each artist discusses the concepts behind their non-traditional intriguing projects.

All the artists will create a new work for PYT 2009, and this exhibition offers a unique opportunity to take stock of where contemporary art in Singapore could be heading.

Donna Ong’s installation will examine the representation of perspective in Eastern as well as Western artistic traditions through a series of layered landscapes.

Twardzik Ching Chor Leng continues her practice of land-based art by inviting the public to reconsider the significance of the Singapore River in history, as well as in our lives today.

Felicia Low, who actively engages with (often marginalised or disadvantaged) communities in her work, will conduct live sessions in the gallery, leading groups of people in an exploration of family and social relationships.

Last but not least, tongue-in-cheek collective Vertical Submarine will present a work-within-a-work, inviting the public into their immersive installation which continues their earlier investigations into the relationship between text, image and representation.

Land art by Twardzik Ching Chor Leng

Editor’s note: We were particularly interested in Twardzik Ching Chor Leng’s plan to siphon an “‘umbilical cord” pipeline of river water through the streets of Singapore to connect the river and art museum. Land art is rare in Asia which makes the artist’s attempt to promote this genre in the confined space of city-state Singapore all the more inspiring.

Space constraints stimulate Singaporean artists?

It is interesting to note that each of the contestants deals with the topic of space in one form or another: from land art to the creation of domestic interiors to the study of perspective as a representation of space.

What the museum staff say

Regarding the exhbition, Mr. Tan Boon Hui, Director Designate of Singapore Art Museum, says:

“President’s Young Talents is SAM’s key platform to introduce Singaporeans to the work of a new generation of contemporary artists. The ‘can-do’ spirit that marks much of the best contemporary art coming out from Singapore now is clearly visible in these new works from Donna Ong, Twardzik Ching Chor Leng, Felicia Low and Vertical Submarine.

While their work has departed markedly from the traditional conventions of what art should look like, it is nonetheless as thoughtful, enjoyable and beautiful as the paintings and sculptures we are more familiar with.

Through such channels as the new PYT microsite, with its information rich content, SAM is working also to make contemporary art accessible to as large a community as possible. As one of the few platforms that regularly provides support to nurture the creation of original local art, SAM hopes to continue growing PYT along with the local contemporary arts scene.’

The President’s Young Talents is on display at the Singapore Museum from August 15th till December 27th, 2009, at the museum’s 8Q SAM art space and you can vote until the end October 2009. Be warned though that the voting mechanism requires input of addresses and phone numbers. We hope that this will be stream-lined in the future to encourage voter participation.

-contributed by Erin Wooters

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Posted in Conceptual, Domestic, Furniture, Galleries work the web, Landscape, Museum shows, Museums, Singapore, Singaporean, Space, Uncategorised | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wu Guanzhong retrospective Singapore Art Museum – New York Times review

Posted by artradar on May 19, 2009


CHINESE ART SINGAPORE

Some of the best arts writing on the web is produced by the New York Times. Coverage of art in Asia is rare unfortunately which makes this review of the celebrated and influential 90 year-old Wu Guanzhong’s retrospective at Singapore Art Museum a must-read piece.

guanzhong_102

In this article Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop deftly explains how his oeuvre evolved in response to his experiences as a student in Paris and his later travails on his return to China where Communist authorities who exalted the Soviet Socialist Realist Style, branded him a ‘bourgeois formalist’ and ultimately destroyed much of his earlier work at the start of the Cultural Revolution.

 

Wu Guanzhong, Pandas

Wu Guanzhong, Pandas

“My father believes that this series of exhibitions are indeed the most important exhibitions of his entire life because they show the full spectrum of his artistic career, from the 1950s to last year. These are also what he considers his absolute best works, which he had kept because he had always planned to give them to museums, for all to see,” said his son, Wu Keyu, 62, who represented his father at the opening of the Singapore exhibition because, he said, the elder Mr. Wu was too frail to travel from Beijing, where he lives.

As a teacher and essayist as well as artist, Wu Guanzhong’s influence has been pivotal on the development of art in China and he  is particularly renowned for

 ”bridging together the Chinese art emphasis placed on the quality of lines and the Western art emphasis on color and the representation of the visual field,” said Kwok Kian Chow, the director of the Singapore Art Museum and the show’s co-curator.

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Posted in Chinese, Ink, Landscape, Line art, Oil, Reviews, Singapore, Surveys | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

13 Korean artists in survey at Singapore Museum to March 2009 – IHT

Posted by artradar on December 5, 2008


Yim Tae-kyu 'Fly Away Home'
Yim Tae-kyu ‘Fly Away Home’

KOREAN ART SINGAPORE

Singapore Art Museum 8 November 2008 – 15 March 2009

Over the past six decades, Korea has witnessed enormous economic and social changes that artists have responded to with a diverse range of approaches, as they grappled with tensions between tradition and modernism, and issues of industrialization and urbanization. Two main ideological movements have emerged, one trying to transcend tradition, and the other trying to rediscover it, yet both have one common quest: finding a strong cultural identity.The exhibition, “Transcendence: Modernity and Beyond in Korean Art,” at the Singapore Art Museum, examines the development of Korean art from the 1950s to the present as seen through the works of 13 artists.

“From a broad perspective, modern Korean art may be seen to be oscillating between two seemingly divergent approaches. On one hand, there seems to be an effort to transcend traditional forms; yet, on the other, many artists have been attempting to rediscover the spirit of traditional art,” said Suenne Megan Tan, one of the two curators of the exhibition, “The idea is really to give visitors a good taste of Korean art over the last 50 years.”

Section 1: 1950s Korean Modernism

The show, which runs until March 15, has three broadly themed sections. The first part looks at the origins of Korean Modernism in the 1950s and focuses on three major artists: Park Seo Bo, Lee Ufan and Kim Tschang Yeul. “They’re generally regarded as key artists that have helped move Korean art into modernity,” Tan said.

Informel period

After the Korean War (1950-1953), artists started to seek new ways of expression, while reflecting on the scars of the war. “I think poverty was really the origin of creation for many artists right after the civil war,” Park said recently through an interpreter while in town for the opening of the show. “There was no food, no job opportunity, everything had gone back to ashes; all conventional values and ideas were laid naked and bare. I had to raise questions.”

Between 1957 and 1965, Park was one of the leading forces behind the Korean Informel movement, the first major abstract movement in Korea to challenge the established Japanese-mediated, French Impressionism style (Korea was under Japanese rule between 1910-1940). Informel works often used rough brushwork and mixed media on a large-scale canvas with strong color in an abstract style. Yet, although artists were looking at ways to experiment, they also sought to adapt abstract principles and include some Korean iconography in their works, noted Choi Eun Ju, guest curator for the show and branch director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Deoksugung in Seoul.

 Monochronism

Park was also a key player in another important Korean art movement, Monochromism, which he defined as the synthesis between the traditional Korean spirit and contemporary art. Proponents of this 1970s movement, which included Lee Ufan, emphasized the color white, a color often associated with the “spirit” of the Korean people.

Today, Park’s works are characterized by the use of soaked Korean mulberry paper mixed with glue, which he then manipulates on the canvas with constant strokes using a small wooden tool to create small, equidistantly spaced paper ridges. Through the repetitive, rhythmic force on the canvas, the artist says he is striving to reach “something absolute.”

“For me, painting has become a mere tool and method to cleanse and purify myself,” the 77-year-old artist said, likening his work to chanting in a temple.

Although they have different backgrounds – Park was trained in Korea, Lee in Japan and Kim in Europe and the United States – all three have imbued their works with Korean sensibilities, aesthetics and philosophy, Tan pointed out. Kim, who is best known for the translucent water drops on his paintings, has introduced Chinese characters in his work, an intrinsic part of Korean culture because of the neighboring country’s influence on Korea over the centuries.

Section 2: 1970s- 1980s

The second part of the exhibition looks at the generation of artists who emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and who started to incorporate everyday objects into their canvas and to work in a more figurative style.

One of them, Kim Kang Yong, has become known as “the brick artist” because of his use of sand on canvases to depict bricks in various permutations.

“My work is very much about the industrialization of our society,” Kim said. “I first started using grains of sand and bricks as a reflection on individuality and the role of individuals in nation-building. But today, I’m using the motif more as an aesthetic tool.” Sometimes the bricks are arranged in a grid-like format, conveying the beauty of order; in others, they tumble toward the viewers, conveying turbulence.

Several of the other artists shown in this section, such as Lee Yong Deok, Cheong Kwang Ho and Lee Lee Nam, have been stretching the notion of the painting medium. Lee Young Deok, for example, first sculpts a figure then creates a cast of it and uses that mold as his final art work, thus offering the viewer a “negative” of his sculpture. Cheong Kwang Ho uses thin copper wire to create three-dimensional, see-through sculptures that have a certain weightlessness to them as though drawn in the air. Using video, Lee Lee Nam gives viewers of his “moving paintings” an opportunity to reflect on the passing of time and to question what is real. Using traditional Chinese landscapes in digital format, he “transforms” them, slowly changing the landscape – modern skyscrapers appear and disappear amid a traditional mountain landscape, or snow starts to fall.

Section 3: 1990s

The remainder of the show focuses on Korean art of the 1990s, which has largely been a reaction to the modernism of the ’70s and ’80s, showing a greater concern with the social function of art. “The contemporary generation goes beyond visual aesthetics and pushing the boundaries of the medium; rather, their art reflects their social concerns for the individual, the marginalized, as well as the tensions that exist within society,” Tan said.

Yim Tae Kyu, for example, started his “marginal man” series in 2002 as solitary melancholic figures that have evolved into a more optimistic and colorful series based on childhood imagery. “I first started with black and white works, looking at people alienated from society. But I then began to see that these people have dreams, hopes, aspirations. I felt marginalized because I was an artist, but I also started to have my own dreams; that’s when I started using color,” said Yim, who recently moved to Beijing: “I think the Beijing art scene is very experimental right now; I want to feel the vibes.”

Tan said that in the 1990s art took on a public function. “In the case of an artist like Kang Ik Joong,” she said, “art is used as an important tool in fostering connectivity across geographical boundaries and cultures.”

Kang has described himself as a collector of people’s dreams, translating those onto miniature canvases, providing “windows” into the hopes and dreams of the people he meets.

International Herald Tribune

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Auction topper Indonesian artist Masriadi video interview with Singapore Art Museum

Posted by artradar on November 9, 2008


INDONESIAN ARTIST VIDEO INTERVIEW

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Singapore artist Yeo Chee Kiong’s installation wins ‘richest’ Asian art prize – Bloomberg

Posted by artradar on November 4, 2008


INSTALLATION ART PRIZE

Yeo Chee Kiong won the S$45,000 ($30,793) inaugural APB Foundation Signature Art Prize (images on website) for his installation “A Day Without a Tree,” originally shown last year at Singapore’s National Museum.

Yeo’s mixed-media work greeted visitors to the building, built in 1887, with what looked like a large puddle of white paint dripping from the walls as the columns of the four-story- high atrium melted. Yeo won the grand prize, the richest in Southeast Asia, sponsored by the Singapore Art Museum and Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd., maker of Tiger beer.

Yeo, born in 1970, said he decided to create a work based on the classical architecture because the museum was celebrating its 120th anniversary at the time of his installation.

“I tried to present something that you are not sure of,” he said in an interview at the Singapore Art Museum.

He declined to explain the work or its title.

“My position is not to tell you what it is. You have to figure that out for yourself,” he said.

Yeo was chosen from a shortlist of 12 artists from the region, including Malaysian Ahmad Fuad B. Osman, China’s Zheng Bo and India’s G.R. Iranna, who all won S$10,000 jurors’ choice awards. Mongolia’s Davaa Dorjderem won S$10,000 for the people’s choice, selected by online voters.

The award is part of a 15-year partnership between APB and the Singapore Art Museum signed a year ago. The APB Foundation has committed S$2.25 million in funding for the prize, which will be awarded every three years.

The 10 shortlisted works are on view at the Singapore Art Museum until Nov. 16.

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Posted in Chinese, Indian, Installation, Malaysian, Museum shows, Museums, Prizes, Singapore, Singaporean | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Post Doi-Moi – Vietnamese Art After 1990 at Singapore museum to 28 September 2008

Posted by artradar on May 31, 2008


VIETNAM ART SURVEY Singapore Art Museum is organising a three-day symposium. The presentations will cover the rise of modern art from the French Colonial period to the experimental art movement in present-day Vietnam. Speakers from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Vietnam and Singapore will be presenting on the rise of modern art from French Colonial period to the experimental art movement in present-day Vietnam.
Also, in celebration of 35 years of diplomatic ties between Singapore and Vietnam, the Singapore Art Museum will be organising an exhibition on Vietnamese modern and contemporary art. The exhibition aims to raise the level of awareness and appreciation of Vietnamese art among visitors by providing insights into artistic developments that have taken place over the last three decades art. Comprising an exhibition and an international symposium, the event will be further supported by public programmes such as art talks and lectures, workshops and guided tours.

1. Symposium: Modern and Contemporary Vietnamese Art
Date: 16 -18 May 2008
Time: 10am – 5pm
Venue: Singapore Art Museum Auditorium

2. Exhibition: National Heritage Board Vietnam Festival and “Post Doi-Moi” – Vietnamese Art After 1990s
Date: 12 May – 28 Sep 2008
Venue: Singapore Art Museum

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