PRINT May 2016


the new Singapore National Gallery

Studio Milou, National Gallery, 2015, Singapore.

TODAY, THE OPENING of another art museum—even one designed or transformed by a starchitect—is nothing exceptional. The parade of spectacular new institutions, most of them private, that started in the mid-1990s continues apace. And the appeal is clearly still growing, as the continued echoing in the media of last year’s Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, which attracted nearly two thousand entries, has proved. However, the opening of a new national gallery, as in Singapore this past November, is unusual. The singularity of this event provides an opportunity to look beyond platitudes about the global museum boom and ask fundamental questions about the role of both art and architecture in our globalized economy and culture. How can a museum articulate national identity, not just in the context of postcolonialism but at a time when art tends to be considered the very

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