Alexandra Seno interviews Siu Li Tan, assistant director and curator of the Singapore Art Museum, on the continuing theme of her Art Stage Singapore coverage, the role of collectors as a foundational structure to the art market. Siu is careful to differentiate SAM’s Singapore and Southeast Asian-specific needs from the broader trends in the US and Europe.
Siu is forced to admit that collectors currently play a decisive role in the art market; though she does, at the end, offer a nice distinction between what the market seeks and what institutional buyers might seek when looking at the same body of work:
As curators, we are primarily concerned with the significance and merit of an artwork, not its market value.
Having said that, I should point out that museum curators do tend to go for rather different works as compared to collectors or speculators, many of whom will choose to pass up on more challenging or strident works, or works in mediums that are difficult to “collect,” such as performance or a large immersive/site-specific installation.
Are Collectors More Important Than Museums? One Curator’s Take (SceneAsia/Wall Street Journal)