How This New Art Fair Is Making Singapore a Major Art Destination

Paul Laster, Galerie, January 13, 2023

A financial center for Southeast Asia and a politically stable haven for private wealth, Singapore seemed like the perfect spot for MCH Group, Art Basel’s parent company, to launch a regional art fair in 2018, but when it pulled its funding the following year the fair’s future was put in jeopardy. Set to launch in 2019, it was delayed until 2020 and then further postponed because of the pandemic. Finally, under the principal ownership of The Art Assembly, which operates five other art fairs in the Asia Pacific region, and a with renewed investment from MCH Group, Art SG is the talk of the town and the greater art world.


Featuring more than 160 international, regional and local exhibitors (there’s a thriving gallery scene at the revamped Gillman Barracks and in the historic Tanjong Pagar district), the fair, which runs through January 15, is under the leadership of co-founder Magnus Renfrew, who started Art HK (acquired by MCH and rebranded as Art Basel Hong Kong in 2013) and its director, Shuyin Yang, who started her career at Christie’s London and later ran Art Central, a satellite fair during Art Basel Hong Kong.

The largest section of the fair is Focus, which is ripe for new discoveries. Highlights here include a solo painting presentation by self-taught American painter Devon DeJardin, who constructs large-scale spiritual narratives from puzzle-like forms, at Albertz Benda and Australian Aboriginal artist Reko Rennie, who uses geometric patterning and graffiti-style markings to create colorful, camouflaged canvases at Station gallery.