Dr Eugene Tan appointed new CEO of National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum, to start tenure from April 1

Dr Eugene Tan, current Director of National Gallery Singapore (the Gallery) and Singapore Art Museum (SAM) will be appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Gallery and SAM on 1 April 2024. He will also take on the role of Head of the Visual Arts Cluster (VAC), which comprises the Gallery, SAM and STPI.

Dr Eugene Tan will take charge as new CEO from April 1. Photo courtesy: Singapore Art Museum
Dr Eugene Tan. Photo courtesy: Singapore Art Museum

He succeeds Chong Siak Ching, who is retiring from her roles, an official release said on Wednesday.

On his new role, Dr Eugene Tan said, “Having been part of National Gallery Singapore’s development over the past eleven years and Singapore Art Museum for five years, I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead these two institutions into the future.

At National Gallery Singapore, we have furthered the recognition of Southeast Asian art through exhibitions such as Reframing Modernism: Painting from Southeast Asia, Europe and Beyond, Minimalism: Space Light and Object, and Tropical: Stories from Southeast Asia and Latin America.

Dr Eugene Tan

“At Singapore Art Museum, we have challenged what a museum of contemporary art needs to be in our time, creating new platforms for Singapore artists, as well as engaging new audiences through our Everyday Museum, which takes art into everyday spaces and communities.

“I look forward to building on these achievements at the two museums and to better engage our publics with deep and meaningful experiences with art through our programmes and exhibitions, as well as to furthering the global awareness and understanding of artists from Singapore and Southeast Asia through our thought-provoking exhibitions,” he added.

Speaking about the appointment, Edmund Cheng, Chairman of Singapore Art Museum, said, “Eugene has championed the arts even before his time with the Gallery and SAM. Working closely with Siak Ching for more than 10 years as a curator and administrator, he has helped to shape Singapore’s visual arts into a lively and vibrant scene, with much to offer in terms of beauty, creativity, rigour, and enrichment in our lives.”

His passion for the arts and the institutions is unparalleled, as he embodies the values of progress, inclusivity, and excellence that we have worked so hard to build over the past decade. We thank Siak Ching for her stewardship in the arts and are confident that Eugene will continue to lead the Gallery and SAM to greater heights, as we continue to nurture a deeper appreciation of art and artists in our society.

Edmund Cheng

The outgoing CEO, Chong Siak Ching, has been in the position since 2013. For more than a decade, she oversaw key milestones in Singapore’s visual arts scene, including the development and launch of the Gallery in November 2015.

Outgoing CEO Chong Siak Ching. Photo courtesy: National Gallery Singapore
Chong Siak Ching. Photo courtesy: National Gallery Singapore

She led the Gallery in its vision of becoming a progressive art museum for the people, where it presents inclusive and diverse programming for all walks of life, while housing the world’s largest public collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian modern art.

Championing access to art for everyone, Chong has steered SAM towards a new chapter of growth that involves bringing contemporary art into every day, found spaces.

Peter Ho, Chairman of National Gallery Singapore, gave Ching her flowers and shared, “Siak Ching has been an inspiration and a driving force for Singapore’s visual arts during her tenure. We are grateful for her visionary leadership, which raised the bar for artistic excellence as the Gallery and SAM became leading arts institutions in our region and the world.”

He also revealed the selection process which for the new CEO. “We thus embarked on an extensive and comprehensive search process to protect and grow this legacy, where Eugene emerged as the best candidate to further the growth of both institutions. Part of the Gallery’s mission is to promote a greater understanding of Southeast Asian art and art histories within a global context.”

Ho said, “Under Eugene’s leadership, the Gallery has presented numerous prolific exhibitions that have presented a critical Southeast Asian perspective of the region’s art history… As the Gallery continues to build the most comprehensive collection of Southeast Asian art from the 19th century to the present day, coupled with Eugene’s ambition for both institutions to be recognised alongside top museums in the world, there is no one more befitting for the role.”