A bronze statue of two schoolboys with 17th century saint John Baptiste de la Salle stands above the porch of the Singapore Art Museum, a reminder that until 1987 this was St. Joseph’s Institution, a Catholic boys school.
Today, the building is a showcase for contemporary Asian art. Since the museum’s opening in January 1996, its permanent collection has grown from under 2000 works of art to over 7000 pieces making it one of the world’s largest public collections of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art. The core of the museum’s art, which includes sculptures, installations and paintings, is richly supplemented by a regular roster of local and international traveling exhibitions, featuring 20th century art from American and European compilations. Works from the museum’s own collection are loaned out to international exhibitions.
Usually only a selection of works are on display at any given time. There are works by artists such as Georgette Chen, Liu Kang, Chen Chong Swee, Lim Tze Peng and Huang Yao from Singapore and those by regional artists such as Wong Hoy Cheong from Malaysia, Affandi from Indonesia and Bui Xian Phai and Tran Trong Vu from Vietnam.
The old Classical style building has been restored and skillfully converted for use as a museum. The former school chapel is used as an auditorium. While the chapel’s original character has been retained, its central window has been replaced by a modern stained glass work by Filipino artist Ramon Orlina. The Building’s two courtyards are used as exhibition spaces, arranged on either side of the Glass Hall, which is a glass enclosed converted veranda decorated with blown glass installations by American artist Dale Chihuly. The old classrooms are now galleries. The state of the art E-mage Multimedia Gallery provides information on the history and techniques of contemporary Southeast Asian art. The museum also has a library and a shop which sell souvenirs showcasing the works of renowned artists.
The Dome Café, ensconced in one of the naves of the museum, serves excellent sandwiches, cakes and coffee drinks. There is also the Venezia restaurant, which serves excellent fusion cuisine and offers alfresco wine bar adds to the pleasant ambience.
How to go to Singapore Art Museum
Singapore Art Museum
Address: 71 Bras Basah Road
Phone: +65 6332 3222
Nearest MRT: Bras Basah
Bus Number: 7, 14, 14e, 16, 36, 77, 106, 111, 128, 131, 162, 162M, 167, 171, 175, 502, 502A, 518A, 590, 598, 700, 700A, 850E, 857, 951E, NR7
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Bus Charter Rates
* Price varies by distant and timing
* Inclusive 1 driver
|13 Seaters||1 Way||From S$90|
|2 Ways||From S$180|
|Hourly||S$54/hr (min 10hrs); S$66/hr (min 3hrs)|
|23 Seaters||1 Way||From S$102|
|2 Ways||From S$204|
|Hourly||S$78/hr (min 10hrs); S$90/hr (min 3hrs)|
|40 Seaters||1 Way||From S$132|
|2 Ways||From S$264|
|Hourly||S$90/hr (min 10hrs); S$102/hr (min 3hrs)|
* Final prices subject to confirmation