Thursday, February 10, 2005

Botero on Bras Basah

There’s an ongoing Fernando Botero exhibit at the Singapore Arts Museum on Bras Basah Road. I’d never even heard of Botero until a high school friend mentioned we should go see his work, and I’m glad we went. Watch out for the side effects though; now I can’t walk down Orchard without imagining everyone rendered as rotund Botero-style figures. The voluptuous, er, voluminous sculptures and Renaissance re-interpretations were my favorites.

We came for the paintings and sculpture but found a pleasant surprise: Russel Wong’s photographs of Asian and Western celebrities. One room showcased richly coloured shots he’d taken on the sets of Crouching Tiger, Hero, and House of Flying Daggers. I wanted to take one of the gorgeous red Zhang Ziyi prints home but settled for the version in the museum brochure.

My favorite was the marked-up set of pictures of Joan Chen, tongue-in-cheek work done for the Singapore Tyler Print Institute.

One of the TV screens showed Russel during his celebrity shoots. Imelda (Marcos, of course) never stopped talking throughout her entire portrait session.

We almost didn’t see the photos, actually. John had said, "Look, it’s Jackie Chan!" on our way to the Botero gallery, but I thought he was kidding. =)

Getting in: Entrance to the museum is $3 per person, and free on Fridays from 6 to 9 pm. It’s also free during the open houses held on selected public holidays, including Chinese New Year – unfortunately, the open house is today and not yesterday when we were there! One of the free ZoCard postcards on the rack in the lobby offers 1 for 1 on entrance: present the card at the front desk and bring in a friend for free. Of course, having come in the back entrance, we didn’t see the card until we walked out the front door.

Opening hours are 10:00 am to 7:00 pm daily, with extended hours on Fridays. Call the front desk at +65 6332 3222 so you don't miss out on museum promotions.

Getting there: The museum is at 71 Bras Basah Road. Check out Streetdirectory’s handy route finder for bus routes from your nearest landmark to the Singapore Art Museum. Don’t forget to check the route back to find your return bus stop, since Bras Basah is one-way.

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