Sunday 5 February 2012

Singapore: Art exhibition or car boot sale?

Van Gogh 'Starry-Night' - Dreams & Reality Exhibition, National Museum of Singapore
National Museum of Singapore
The last day of the ‘Dreams & Reality' Exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore looked more like a car boot sale than an art gallery. Almost every person in the queue tapped on a mobile phone while tHenri Rousseau 'War or the Cavalcade of Discord' - Dreams & Reality Exhibition, National Museum of Singaporehe young lady next to me dressed in a royal blue chiffon shirt and dress combo browsed for jewellery on her iPad.

The exhibition featured paintings and photographs from the Musée d’Orsay collection from the last half of the 19th century. People clustered in front of the exhibits trying to get a clear shot on their phones before taking a close up of the information panel. It was as if Carolus Duran 'The Lady with the Glove'  - Dreams & Reality Exhibition, National Museum of Singaporethe idea was to record as much as possible in digital format so that it could be reviewed in the comfort of the nearest coffee shop. To be fair, there wasn’t really time to read much of a panel before someone shoved a phone in front of the text.

Nobody seemed to be looking at the painPaul Cézanne 'The Gulf of Marseille Seen from-L'Estaque' - Dreams and Reality Exhibition, National Museum of Singaporetings. These were (perhaps not the best) works of art from some of the world’s most famous artists; Van Gogh, Rousseau, Cézanne, Monet, Van Rysselberghe. They might just as well have been posters. Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ understandably drew the biggest crowd. Only one person stopped to admire Carolus-Duran’s exquisite life-sized portrait of the ‘Lady with the Glove’.

Oh well.

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