Talk by Kathleen Ditzig
Case Studies from Singapore: Travelling Exhibitions in Southeast Asia from the MoMA’s International Program during the Cold War
Rhetorics of contemporary art in Singapore are often constructed through the lens of Singapore as a hub providing access to and a platform for Southeast Asia as a cultural region and emergent art market. However, such narratives eschew the historical origins and socio-political stakes of Southeast Asia as a region.
Case Studies from Singapore will present an account of the exhibitions that MoMA’s International Programme sent to Singapore from the 1950s-1970s. As an attempt to problematize the regionalism often assumed and peddled, this account will present the exhibition as a cultural commodity used in a process of framing and seeking influence over nascent nations and Southeast Asia as an emergent region.
Case Studies from Singapore is part of a curatorial project that examines regionalism as a tool employed toward historical specific socio-political aims. Looking at the Cold War roots of Southeast Asia as a region, the curatorial project’s goal is to make an exhibition that interrogates the origins of a coherent ‘Southeast Asia’ cultural concept.
Kathleen Ditzig (born 1988, lives in Singapore and New York) is pursuing a graduate degree in curatorial studies at the Center for Curatorial studies at Bard College. Her curatorial research pertains to the relationship of American hegemony and the non-aligned movement in Southeast Asia, and its influence upon the writing of art history and the ‘rise’ of emergent art markets in Asia. She is invested in readings of neocolonialism and contemporary globalism, specifically with regards to work that rehabilitates lost or marginal histories. Some of her past projects include Building A New Art World at ICP in New York and A History of Curating in Singapore with Curating Lab 2012. She thinks its important to talk about the circulation and functioning of Contemporary Art in contexts larger than the art world and enjoys working with young artists.
Talk by Cheong Kah Kit
Perak, Malaysia, holds a special interest for Kah Kit. It was the birth place of his father, as well as where the first state museum in Malaysia, The Perak Museum, was established in 1883. As a predecessor of colonial museums in Malaya, its legacy includes the Singapore Raffles Library and Museum, established in 1887, now known as the National Museum of Singapore (NMS). In his research into the history of the National Museum of Singapore, Kah Kit found himself concurrently tracing his father’s roots in Perak. At his talk, Kah Kit will share the ongoing exploration of his family story and state museums.
About Kah Kit
Cheong Kah Kit (b.1976) is a visual artist based in Singapore. He graduated from Umeå Academy of Fine Art, Sweden in 2008. Between 2009 -2015, Cheong was the Reference Art Librarian at the Lee Kong Chian Library, National Library, Singapore. He was also affiliated with p-10, a Singaporean independent project space between 2004-2006.