The notion of museums as public institutions is a Western construct. Japan and China were the first countries in Asia to follow the Western model in building museums and collections in the early 19th century. Today, as museum-building flourishes in most parts of Asia, it’s as challenging as ever for museums in our region to find their own unique voice and legitimacy, particularly in the midst of growing ideological clashes.
Artistic Director, Jim Thompson Art Centre
Gridthiya Gaweewong is Artistic Director, Jim Thompson Art Centre (Bangkok, Thailand). She is also Guest Curator and Advisor of MAIIAM (Chiang Mai, Thailand). She co-founded an independent art organization, Project 304 in 1996 after receiving her MAAA (Master of Arts in Administration and Policy) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Gaweewong has curated numerous exhibitions including Under Construction (Tokyo, 2000-2002), Politics of Fun at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2005), the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival (1997–2007), the Saigon Open City in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2006-2007) and Unreal Asia, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (2009 and Between Utopia and Dystopia, MUAC, Mexico City (2011) among others. Last year, she served as the curatorial team of the 12th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea, and curated the exhibition Facing Phantom Borders.
Pauline J. Yao
Lead Curator, Visual Art, at M+
Pauline J. Yao is Lead Curator, Visual Art, at M+, Hong Kong. She has held curatorial positions at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and worked as an independent curator and writer in Beijing for six years, during which time she helped co-found the storefront art space Arrow Factory. Since joining M+ in 2012, Yao has played a leading role in building the visual art collection by overseeing and acquiring works from around Asia and beyond. A co-curator of the 2009 Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture, Yao is a regular contributor to Artforum International and is the co-editor of PODIUM, M+’s online publication. Her writings on contemporary Asian art have appeared in numerous catalogues, online publications, and edited volumes. She is the curator of “Five Artists: Sites Encountered”, now on view at the M+ Pavilion, Hong Kong.
Director of Curatorial, Programmes and Publications at the Singapore Art Museum
June Yap is the Director of Curatorial, Programmes and Publications at the Singapore Art Museum. She was formerly Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator (South and Southeast Asia), Deputy Director and Curator of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, and curating independently. During her residency at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, as part of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, she curated the exhibition ‘No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia’. In 2011, Yap curated the Singapore pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, featuring work by Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen, ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’. She has also curated exhibitions for the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) in Stuttgart and Berlin, and the National University of Singapore Museum, amongst others. She received her MA in Fine Art at the University of Melbourne and her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies at the National University of Singapore. She is the author of Retrospective: A Historio
Co-Director of Art Leader Summit Asia 2019
Selina is a specialist in contemporary art with over 10 years of professional experience in both Asia and Europe. She was Director of CoBo, Asia’s first Community platform for collectors that advocates the enrichment of the art ecosystem in Asia. She was also Editor-in-Chief of CoBo Social, an online media outlet focuses on Asian Contemporary Art. Before launching CoBo in 2016, Selina was based in Paris and Brussels between 2004 – 2014, she has a network traversing the Asian and Western art world. She founded initiArt Magazine and S.initiatives – Curatorial and Art Consultancy in 2011. Selina was Editor-in-Chief of Whitewall China in 2014 – 2015. Selina has published extensively on her research projects as well as on general issues regarding contemporary art and culture.