Grace Fu, the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) said in the parliament on Wednesday that the National Arts Council (NAC) had no idea that the contemporary art fair Art Stage Singapore would cancel its last edition.
She said this while replying to the question asked by Workers' Party Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera about the cancellation that was announced eight days prior to the event's preview opening which left participating art galleries stranded.
As per the Minister Fu, "I would say that the reason why MCCY and NAC were particularly disappointed with this cancellation is that actually we've had occasions where we presented Singapore Art Week to the community together with Art Stage, and even in the few media meetings that we had, there was no inkling about plans to cancel the show."
In addition, she also stated that the Art Stage Singapore is a commercial organization and since NAC doesn't have a direct financial interest in the show, the council doesn't have sight of its financial numbers.
Minister Fu clarified that like other commercial organizations, "financial situations are not something that you will openly display or openly demonstrate to the public. It will not be appropriate for us to be demanding financial, commercial organisations to show us their financial situation."
On Tuesday, February 12, Acres Advisory, a restructuring consultancy said that Art Stage Singapore, the main organizer of the art fair, has been placed under provisional liquidation. But, Economic Development Board, Singapore Tourism Board and also NAC have supported the event.
However, it should be noted that after the cancellation news gone out in public, with the support of NAC, non-profit group Arts Outreach contacted 36 galleries, who are one of those affected by the cancellation. 14 out of 36 galleries later took part in a pop-up event, ARTery at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.
Minister Fu said,
It is important for us to always remember that the art marketplace is not one where the regulator itself can decide its viability and its growth. We require all the parties in the visual arts landscape to play their part and we really call on the arts community to come in and support Singapore Art Week and any subsequent events that we may have in Singapore.