Art market

Will it ever happen? Inaugural Art SG postponed for a fourth time

The first edition of the Singapore fair, first announced in 2018, is now scheduled to happen in January 2022

Magnus Renfrew and Shuyin Yang, Art SG fair director Courtesy of Art SG

New Singapore art fair Art SG has yet again pushed back its inaugural event, this time from November 2021 to 20 to 23 January 2022, overlapping with the city-state’s decade old Singapore Art Week (SAW).

“By aligning our timing with SAW, we will create an even more exciting momentum for the fair while contributing to Singapore’s robust and growing art community,” says Magnus Renfrew, the cofounder of Art SG. Due to be held at the Marina Bay Sands convention centre, the fair is also co-founded by Tim Etchells and Sandy Angus, with whom Renfrew also established Taipei Dangdai. “We believe this move to January 2022 better aligns us with a vital moment in Singapore’s art calendar,” Renfrew adds.

Announced in 2018, the first Art SG was initially planned to happen in early November 2019. It was shifted to later that month in order to coincide with the Singapore Biennale opening and due to the withdrawal of MCH Group from the project. But it was subsequently postponed for another year, purportedly at the request of participating galleries. Last year, it cancelled after Covid-19 largely closed Singapore’s borders.

“Due to the international outbreak of Covid-19, the art world calendar in 2020 changed dramatically and evolved constantly, and several fairs were cancelled altogether,” Renfrew says. “These various changes sparked a ripple effect in terms of programming, but it also gave us the opportunity to realign the fairs in our portfolio to optimise best timings for them all.”

The shift to January will be permanent, and runs Art SG alongside regional boutique fair S.E.A. Focus, established in 2019 by local powerhouse STPI–Creative Workshop & Gallery and the National Arts Council, Singapore. A now-defunct international art fair, Art Stage Singapore, ran during SAW at Marina Bay Sands from 2011 until 2018, canceling its 2019 edition days before opening. Renfrew believes that Art SG’s broader international scope with “its own identity, its own mix of galleries and dynamic programming” will make the two fairs complements not competitors. “S.E.A Focus is a very important element of Singapore Art Week, and we will be working closely with their team and the National Arts Council in the coming months, in affirmative collaboration to benefit the Singapore art scene and community.”