The MCH Group, which owns the Art Basel franchise of art fairs in Basel, Hong Kong, and Miami Beach, will expand its presence in southeast Asia with a new fair set to launch in Singapore in November 2019. Dubbed ART SG, the new fair is a partnership between the Switzerland-based MCH, fair organizer Sandy Angus of AngusMontgomery Arts, and artist and event organizer Tim Etchells.
Angus and Etchells previously worked together to launch Art HK in 2008, which was so successful that Art Basel eventually bought it in 2011, renaming it Art Basel in Hong Kong for the inaugural 2012 edition. ART SG marks the latest addition to MCH’s regional art fair portfolio, which also includes Art Düsseldorf and the India Art Fair.
ART SG is the latest art fair to take aim at Asia’s rapidly expanding wealth and appetite for contemporary art. According to a 2017 Credit Suisse report, Singaporeans ranked ninth in the world in terms of median wealth, and the city-state’s population of 5.6 million includes nearly one thousand ultra high net worth individuals. Organizers Etchells and Angus emphasized Singapore’s growing art infrastructure and central location in a joint statement:
With the new National Gallery, in addition to the Singapore Art Museum and NTU Centre for Contemporary Arts, the Singapore art scene is firmly established and deserves an art fair of significance. It is the right time for Singapore, as a flagship art city and key art centre of Southeast Asia. It is less than a two-hour flight from every major city in the ASEAN zone which represents a collective market of 620 million people, significantly larger than that of North America, the Eurozone or the Middle East.
The dates for ART SG put it just a couple of months away from Singapore’s nearly decade-old, Art Stage Singapore, a fair which takes place every January during Singapore Art Week. That fair has seen its number of exhibitors reduced nearly by half over the past three years, from 170 in 2016 to 84 earlier this year. That hasn’t stopped a local satellite fair, SEA Focus, from joining the Singapore Art Week lineup, as the Art Newspaper reported; its inaugural edition, with some 40 galleries slated to participate, is set for January 2019.
The first edition of ART SG will take place Nov. 1–3, 2019, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, and will be similar in size to Art Stage, with some 80 galleries expected to participate; applications open later this year.