MA Art Business alumnus Jongsuwat Angsuvarnsiri is Managing Director at SAC Gallery, a gallery in Bangkok dedicated to elevating the presence of Thai contemporary artists across the globe. We spoke with Jongsuwat about SAC Gallery’s mission and his insights into curating an impactful art collection.
What drove your decision to apply for a Sotheby’s Institute MA program and what did you study?
I did the MA in Art Business in London, which was one of the best programs available for what I wanted to do as a career. At the time, I was managing a gallery without formal experience in the field, and I wanted to lay a more solid foundation to navigate the art world and grow my business.
Looking back, how did the MA Art Business program at Sotheby’s Institute equip you with the tools and knowledge to navigate the art industry?
The MA in Art Business informed me of the various ways in which one can be involved in different aspects of the art world, such as the for-profit and not-for-profit models, as well as those that are often in the background, such as art handling, insurance, logistics, and conservation.
The faculty members also helped me to make sense of how biennales, art fairs, museums, art patrons, and auction houses are interlinked and help to expand the art market in synergy, and how they affect an artist’s career. This ultimately became a guideline to how I program my gallery’s activities and for what purposes.
Can you briefly describe the history and significance of SAC Gallery in the Bangkok art scene?
We began 11 years ago as a not-for-profit art center, specializing in education programs and recontextualizing modern artists for contemporary viewers. A few years later, we began a partnership with a French gallery to invest in Thai contemporary artists and grow their presence internationally.
Today, we have an art residency, conservation service, and internship program, while also providing our usual education program parallel to the gallery’s commercial programs. We like to believe that we are present throughout an artist’s and collector’s entire journey, from nurturing young and emerging artists and collectors, to helping them build a collection and care for their works through our conservation services.
How does your personal collecting experience inform your decisions as the Managing Director of SAC Gallery?
For my own collection, I select works that represent the artist’s identity or their key message without worrying that the piece must be the largest or the most iconic. Instead, I search for how the piece embodies the artist's thinking and how it encourages me to view the world in a different light. I try to apply this thinking to our artists at SAC Gallery and consider whether what they’re doing or producing is meaningful and reflects the moment that we’re in.
What is your vision for the future of SAC Gallery?
We are constantly evolving and transforming as we mature. My vision for SAC Gallery is to earn more presence in the international art scene through our art fair programs, collaboration with other galleries, and our residency program. We are also searching for overseas Thai artists to develop broader dialogue between Thailand and the international art world.
What advice or tips would you give to Sotheby’s Institute applicants?
I applied to Sotheby’s Institute after I had a few years of work experience, and that helped me to extract more from the course because I knew exactly what knowledge I needed and why. I would recommend undertaking an internship or work experience before applying. I would also recommend a book called How to Write About Contemporary Art by Dr. Gilda Williams, which assisted me in writing my application to study at Sotheby’s Institute and other projects throughout the program.