Best art museums in Singapore (including galleries)

Best art museums in Singapore (including galleries)
October 20 12:14 2018 Print This Article

Singapore is a melting pot of culture and talent. For this reason it has spawned some of the most amazing local artists, art pieces and art spaces. One of the most beautiful things about the art museums in Singapore is that most of them have been converted from old colonial buildings to modern and interactive meeting places for the artsy and imaginative. So a visit to an art gallery or museum in Singapore is not only visual but also historical.

The Best Art Museums in Singapore

Whether you’re into famous works of art, hands-on family art jamming or grungier DIY indie galleries, this list will have something for you. Get ready for a feast of the eyes and senses with our list of the best art museums in Singapore. And if you’re looking for something a bit more cultural and historic, check out our article on the Best Museums of Singapore here.


National Gallery Singapore

National Gallery Singapore

National Gallery Singapore

Not to be confused with the National Museum of Singapore (NGS), the National Gallery Singapore only a few kms away is the largest art museum Singapore.

Housed in the old Supreme Court and City Hall building, this massive gallery has a South-East Asian focus with art dating from the 19th century all the way up to today. In fact, it has the largest public collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian art in the world.

While adults will enjoy the historical side of the over 8,000 art pieces, kids will have the most fun with guides, books, activities and workshops of all kinds.

The Ng Teng Fong Rooftop Garden is also a fun addition with interactive exhibitions that are constantly changing. There are guided tours, a free audio guide app, and some of the best fine dining restaurants in Singapore like Odette, Smoke and Mirrors and Yàn.

Website: https://www.nationalgallery.sg/

Address: 1 St Andrew’s Rd, Singapore 178957

Opening hours:

Mon-Thu 10am-7pm;

Fri 10am-9pm;

Sat & Sun 10am-7pm

Admission: Free admission for locals and PRs, $20 admission for foreigners; charges for special exhibitions apply


ArtScience Museum

ArtScience Museum

ArtScience Museum. Photo by William Cho (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The ArtScience Museum has become a landmark, along with Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion. The building, designed by Israeli architect Moshe Safdie, stands out as a modernised lotus flower springing out of the Marina.

The Museum, which goes beyond just art, has held some of the best exhibitions in Singapore from famous artists like Andy Warhol and Vincent Van Gogh to props and costumes from the Harry Potter franchise and the recent Marvel exhibition.

While there are 21 gallery spaces showcasing a blend of art and science, the permanent Future World, designed by Japanese arts collective teamLab, will take your mind on an interactive journey the likes of which it has never experienced.

This exhibit shows the true vision of the museum as art and science blend perfectly. Future World is permanent, yet it is refreshed every few months, so you can expect a new mind-bending show each time you go.

Website: http://www.marinabaysands.com/museum.html

Address: 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974

Opening hours: Daily 10am-7pm (last admission at 6pm)

Admission: Pricing varies depending on the exhibits you wish to see. Click here for the full pricing list.


Singapore Art Museum

Singapore Art Museum

Singapore Art Museum.Photo by Allie_Caulfield (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In a former life, the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) was a Catholic Boys’ School called St Joseph’s. Today, the museum holds over 7,000 contemporary art pieces from all over Asia.

The decorative facade of the building is kept in tact and restored, so it seems as though you are still entering a Catholic Institution.

Standing true to its original education background, SAM provides education workshops for schools that range from Primary to Tertiary levels. There are also some great online resources like worksheets, guide and kits to widen your perspective and enhance your imagination.

And don’t forget to visit SAM at 8Q, SAM’s sister property about 88 steps from the main building. It was also converted from a Catholic School and focuses on youth and contemporary art. Film screenings are also held at SAM at 8Q in the Moving Image Gallery.

Website: http://www.singaporeartmuseum.sg/

Address: 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555

Opening hours:

Mon-Thu 10am-7pm;

Fri 10am-9pm;

Sat & Sun 10am-7pm

Admission: Free for Singaporeans, $5-$10 for foreigners

SAM at 8Q @ Singapore Art Museum

8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535

Operating Hours:

Monday to Thursday 10am-7pm

Friday 10am-9pm


Red Dot Design Museum Singapore

Red Dot Design Museum Singapore

Red Dot Design Museum Singapore. Photo from their website

If you didn’t know, the Little Red Dot is one of Singapore’s various nicknames, but the museum’s name actually comes from its sister property in Germany, the famous Red Dot Design Museum in Essen.

While this offshoot may not host the largest exhibition of contemporary design in the world, it does showcase some talented individuals and their innovative work and concepts.

Not only will you peruse 300 design works from around the world, but you can also visit the design store to shop for all your design needs, making it one of the most interesting places in Singapore.

The Red Dot Design Museum has also recently relocated from the Red Dot Traffic Building in Maxwell Road, where it has been for the past 12 years, to the Marina Bay City Gallery in Marina Boulevard, a stunning venue.

The building, designed in collaboration between Cox Architects (Australia) & Architects 61 (Singapore) is something out of a sci-fi movie, with a full glass facade that makes it glow in the night. It’s open late on weekends, so if you’re bored, this is the place to spend a few hours.

Website: http://www.museum.red-dot.sg/

Address: 11 Marina Blvd, Singapore 018940

Opening hours: Mon-Thu 10am-8pm, Fri-Sun 10am-11pm

Admission: Pay as you wish but the minimum fee for non Singapore citizen is S$6.40. Free admission for children aged 6 and below.

Free admission during MAAD Bazaar (Market of Artists And Designers), a grassroots initiative to promote local designers and artists since 2006. MAAD Bazaar is every first Friday of the month.


NUS Museum

NUS Museum

NUS Museum. Photo by erasmusa (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has a museum with over 8,000 pieces of art divided between four collections. The art focuses on Asian contemporary and classical works that helps facilitate the intellectual and cultural life not only of its students, but also the outside world.

Take your pick between the Chinese works in The Lee Kong Chian Collection, Indian pieces of the South and Southeast Asian Collection, the multitude of artworks donated from the late Singaporean sculptor Ng Eng Teng in the collection with his name, or the Straits Chinese Collection which is at a different location in Baba House, one of the last surviving Straits Chinese houses in Singapore at 157 Neil Road.

Website: https://museum.nus.edu.sg/

Address: University Cultural Centre Annex, National University of Singapore, 50 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119279

Opening hours: Tue-Sat 10am-7.30pm, Sun 10am-6pm

Admission: Free


Parkview Museum Singapore

Parkview Museum Singapore

Parkview Museum Singapore. Photo by Choo Yut Shing (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

When you hear Singaporeans talk about the “Gotham City building”, they are referring to the Art Deco megalith, the Parkview Square office block. The building is best known for its facade and for the ground-floor gin bar Atlas of world renown.

But what you may not know is that on the third floor of this giant building that resembles the fictitious home of DC superhero Batman is a fantastic art museum and private gallery established by the Parkview Group.

The emphasis of the Parkview Museum is on contemporary art which showcases both local and international talent as well as pieces from its own rather large collection. In fact it holds the most artworks by Dali outside of Spain (which are not always up for exhibit). It also has over 10,000 works from contemporary Chinese artists, imperial Chinese stone Buddhist carvings, and contemporary art from all over the world including Austria, Germany, France, Italy and the USA.

Website: https://www.parkviewmuseum.com/

Address: L3 Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 188778

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12am-7pm

Admission: Free


Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA@Loewen)

MoCA@Loewen

MoCA@Loewen. Photo from their website

If you walk past the MoCA@Loewen, you may mistake the colonial era house for an ancient relic. In fact, this art museum is a private gallery facilitated by Linda Gallery that brings some of the best contemporary art from throughout the region.

Due to its emphasis on the contemporary, you can expect to find the trendiest artists showing off their modish works. If you want to find out the current trends in the Singaporean art world, this is the place to go. Check their facebook page to see the most up-to-date exhibitions.

Website: http://www.mocaloewen.sg/

Address: 27A Loewen Road, Singapore 248839

Opening Hours: Mon – Sun 10am – 6pm

Admission: Usually free, but please check at the venue as some exhibitions may carry a charge.


The Arts House

The Arts House Singapore

The Arts House Singapore. Photo by alantankenghoe (CC BY 2.0)

Another venue housed in an historic building, Old Parliament House, The Arts House is a multi-disciplinary arts venue with a focus on literature, so an art museum for those with an interest in the written word.

While it does exhibit pieces from the visual arts, it’s a break from the norm providing a source of not only literal and spoken word from the Lion City but also a creative space to hosts art exhibitions and concerts in Singapore, like the Singapore International Festival of Arts.

The Arts House also manages the green warehouse-looking Goodman Arts Centre and the Aliwal Arts Centre. Whether you’re after a talk, film screening, theatre performance, classical art or music appreciation, this is the place to visit.

Check out their What’s On section here to see the monthly schedule. With a total of nine venues throughout the premises, you never know what you may come across.

Website: https://www.theartshouse.sg/

Address: 1 Old Parliament Ln, Singapore 179429

Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm daily

Admission: Varies depending on the event.


The Best Galleries in Singapore

We couldn’t write this list without including some of our favourite indie art galleries in Singapore. While the list is not exhaustive, it does include a taste of some of the more under the radar art spaces for the visually curious to draw inspiration.

Kult Studio & Gallery

Kult Gallery

Kult Gallery. Photo from their facebook page

Grungier than your average art space, Kult Studio & Gallery is a fantastic art gallery in Singapore dedicated to all things counter culture and strange. From street art to creative collaborations Kult is a modern art space that allows viewers interested in the subcultures of the day to find inspiration.

The space is more like a skate shop than an art gallery, with Banksy-esque graffiti, old-school arcade machines and graphic novels. You may feel like you’ve stepped inside a New York gallery than Rochor/Little India.

Pop into Kult Kafe for a weirdly wonderful and eclectic experience, parties, salsa dancing and beautiful bartistry.  

Website: https://www.kult.online/

Address: C2-5, Emily Hill, 11 Upper Wilkie Road, Singapore 228120

Opening Hours: Kult Kafe is open Wednesday to Saturday: 5pm-midnight; Sunday: 3pm-midnight

Admission: Depends on the event


DECK

DECK Singapore

DECK Singapore. Photo from their website

Similar to Seoul’s Common Ground, yet on a smaller scale and focussed solely on photography, DECK is a multi-leveled gallery space housed in old containers. It is also one of the most interesting galleries in Singapore.

The independent art space, launched in 2014, is one of the best places to go to witness budding photographers in Singapore and the rest out Southeast Asia.

The creators of DECK are passionate about photography and believe that the visual art should be accessible to all and not only a select few. They started the annual Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF) to bring to together all photographic enthusiasts, professionals and amateurs, to meet, collaborate and showcase their works.

With a multitude of “happenings”, if you’re into this beautiful art form, then this should be your first port of call.

Website: http://deck.sg/

Address: 120A Prinsep Street, Singapore 187937

Opening Hours:

Tue to Sat 12nn – 7pm

Sun 12nn – 5pm

Closed on PH and Mon

Admission: Varies depending on the event


Tanjong Pagar Distripark

Galerie Steph at Tanjong Pagar Distripark

Galerie Steph at Tanjong Pagar Distripark

Tanjong Pagar Distripark is not just one, but rather several galleries all within the large converted warehouse space. The vibe is as contemporary as you can get at this hub for trend setting and emerging artists.  

Don’t be fooled by the industrial facade, take a peek inside and you will find a fantastic surprise of an art gallery. Among the galleries at Distripark are Sherman Ong’s masterpieces at Ikkan Art International and Southeast Asian focussed Gajah Gallery.

Website: No website, please visit the relevant galleries’ websites in the paragraph above

Address: Blk 39 Tanjong Pagar Distripark, 39 Keppel Rd, Singapore 089065

Opening Hours: Please see the websites above

Admission: Please see the websites above


Ode to Art

Ode To Art Singapore

Ode To Art Singapore. Photo from their Facebook Page

Did you know that there is an art museum inside the Raffles City Shopping Complex? The slick and sophisticated Ode to Art is right inside Raffles City and caters to the more refined art crowd. There is also a branch in cultural Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Ode To Art holds a diverse collection of both local and international artists of all media from sculpture to photography. Its current portfolio consists of some heavy hitters in the contemporary art scene like Fernando Botero, Mauro Perucchetti, Qin Feng, Chen Wenling, Lee Jung Woong and Lim TzePeng. You will also most likely find your favourite new Singaporean artist at Ode to Art as they are known to promote young and local emerging artists.

Website: https://www.odetoart.com/

Address: 252, North Bridge Road, Raffles City Shopping Centre, #01-36E/F, Singapore 179109

Opening Hours: Open daily 11am – 9pm

Admission: Free


Gillman Barracks

Gillman Barracks

Gillman Barracks. Photo by Choo Yut Shing (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

By now, you will have seen that Singapore has a knack for architectural conservation. Gillman Barracks is yet another colonially conserved building cluster that has been transformed into a contemporary venue for the arts, a leafy and spacious art museum in Singapore combining heritage with modern art.

The green 6.4 hectare site runs along Alexander road, so a walk along the Southern Ridges would be a perfect combination with your art.

The former military barracks were converted into an arts cluster that today is home to 13 art galleries, the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) Singapore, non-profit art organisation Art Outreach and Playeum’s Children’s Centre for Creativity, a dedicated art space for kids.

You can also organise a guided tour through the cluster or take a slow walk among the buildings, art spaces, bars, restaurants and cafes. So there really is something for everyone, from artsy families to nature lovers to trendy hipsters.

Website: https://www.gillmanbarracks.com/

Address: 9 Lock Road, Singapore 108937

Opening Hours:

Galleries:

Monday and Public Holidays: Closed

Tuesday – Sunday: Please refer to individual pages for opening hours

NTU CCA Singapore:

Exhibition Hours (Exhibition Centre at Blk 43)

Tuesday – Sunday: 12 – 7pm

Friday: 12 – 9pm

Monday: Closed

Open on Public Holidays

Admission: Please refer to individual pages for admission pricing


Goodman Arts Centre

Goodman Arts Centre Singapore

Goodman Arts Centre Singapore. Photo by Smuconlaw (CC BY-SA 3.0)

More of an arts playground than a snobbish gallery, The Goodman Arts Centre in culturally-rich Montbatten is an interactive meeting space where the art enthusiasts of Singapore can meet, share and experience the arts.

This is more an interactive venue with various rooms, meeting halls and studios used on a short term basis for art-based activities than a museum per se. So don’t go expecting a multitude of permanent art pieces. Rooms at the Goodman are also available for hire.

The Goodman Arts Centre is good for families with imaginative kids looking for fun activities to pass their time. It’s best to check the events section on their website to see what’s happening when you go.

Cafe Melba is also a fantastic place to gather after an event for a delicious treat and all-day breakfasts and a bouncy castle to keep the kids busy. La Barca also has a bouncy castle with a water slide which will make sure your kids are entertained while you enjoy a quieter brunch.

Website: https://www.goodmanartscentre.sg/

Address: 90 Goodman Road, Singapore 439053

Opening Hours: 9am – 6.30pm (Mondays to Fridays)

Admission: Will vary depending on the event


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Singapore n Beyond
Singapore n Beyond

Sharing getaway and itinerary ideas in Asia and insider knowledge of Singapore

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