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Thanavi Chotradit
Although Bangkok or ‘Krung Thep’ (in Thai: City of Angel) has been a place for Modern and contemporary art in Thailand for decades, recently, it is more blooming than ever before. Isn’t it heaven as an amount of artists, galleries, art organizations and people involving with art are increasing? After years of fighting with blood and tears, The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre is currently under hasty construction with the support of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. Not to mention the existing art spaces that work non-stop, the number of galleries and art organizations are also rising together with the number of artists and art projects throughout the year 2006. In the meantime, new faces of Thai curators (including myself) appear in this year of change. Moreover, the art scene in this city of angel is active and attractive enough to bring new comers from international arena to come with the term “collaboration.”

Art happen everyday and everywhere in Bangkok...

The sprinkle of art and cultural activities in Bangkok may be caused from the fact that Southeast Asian art is moving quickly. As Singapore and Vietnam began to hold their own large-scale art festivals, Thailand couldn’t help joining this phenomenon. Next February, there will be Bangkok International Art Festival organized by The Nation. And at this moment, the last trimester of the year, there have been 2-3 art openings every week. It seems to be the Golden Age of art both locally and internationally as many Thai artists were “picked up” for exhibitions and festivals worldwide as well. However, the question is, could this quantitative blooming of art and cultural activities be taken as the sign of progress?

Why should I have that question?

Beyond that physical prosperity, there is no infrastructure. Bangkok lacks of almost everything in terms of education, curatorial and management... What could bridge the gap between art and the public? How can we provide knowledge and understanding? How should educational and outreach programmes be conducted? What is the proper art and museum management? Whose role is it? These are questions on an audience development which is deeply related to the sustenance of art.

Let me ask one more questions
My dear angel, are you flying too high?

Bangkok, December 2006