Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155611
Title: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM ART GALLERY: A CIVIC ASSET’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART IN SINGAPORE
Authors: JOLENE TEO JIA XUAN
Issue Date: 22-Apr-2019
Citation: JOLENE TEO JIA XUAN (2019-04-22). THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM ART GALLERY: A CIVIC ASSET’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART IN SINGAPORE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The National Museum Art Gallery (NMAG) was opened in 1976, with contributions from various parties, especially the Singapore Arts Council (SAC). The NMAG was the first national art gallery to open in Singapore in a decolonizing context, which exhibited and expanded its national art collection. It played a crucial role as the foundations for developing the subsequent national art galleries in Singapore. While the NMAG collected and displayed a wide array of art from ancient civilizations to contemporary, this thesis focuses on its modern and contemporary Singapore and Southeast Asian art collection. This thesis discusses the contributions of the NMAG to the development of modern and contemporary art, through various ways such as its exhibitions and acquisitions. This thesis argues that the NMAG had to juggle between the roles as a national institution as part of the National Museum (NM) and a contributor to the arts, and seeks to analyse whether its role as the former was a help or a hindrance to the purposes of the latter. This thesis begins by reviewing the state of modern and contemporary art in the 60s and 70s, to understand the need for a national art gallery for local artists to have a permanent space. It will then discuss the history of the NM to explain why it was unable to open an art gallery until 1976, and how it became a large part of its identity as a cultural museum. It discusses the transfer of the University of Malaya Art Museum’s (UMAM) collection to the National Museum for temporary storage. My second chapter is about the NMAG’s early years from the 1970s to 1980s which discusses its formation, its purpose, and its role as a civic asset. It will then discuss the acquisitions, curation, exhibitions and education; and how the gallery contributed to modern and contemporary art through these four aspects. My final chapter will discuss the later years of the NMAG from 1980s to 90s, and the 1988 and 1989 reports by the Advisory Council for Visual Arts (ACCA), a watershed document that changed the government’s stance on arts in Singapore. In the final subchapter, this thesis discusses the plans to create a museum precinct and the transition from the NMAG to SAM.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155611
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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