Istanbul Modern

Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi
Liman Isletmeleri Sahasi 305
Antrepo No: 4. Istanbul, Turkey


From the museum on Tripadvisor:

“Temporary and permanent exhibition halls, photography gallery, cinema hall, video art area and new media art area make up the platform that presents diverse forms of art that can be experienced at Istanbul Modern in addition to an arts library, a shop that combines design with art and its cafe and restaurant that offers its visitors a fantastic view of Istanbul.”


“In a city that prides itself on its history, Istanbul Modern is a refreshing alternative for those who want to see a piece of the ‘new Istanbul.’ Founded in 2004 and housing a decent collection from both Turkish and international artists, Istanbul’s largest contemporary art museum is the first of its kind in the city and is well worth a visit.

Istanbul Modern’s location along the banks of the Bosphorous inside old shipping containers makes for a cutting-edge break from the ancient mosque and scores of Nargile (Turkish water pipe) houses in Karakoy which line either side of the Museum.

Visitors to the Museum are greeted with a literal ceiling of books- Richard Wentworth’s False Ceiling (1995-2005)- and can wander the first floor which is dedicated to a number of permanent exhibitions including those by Seker Ahmet Ali Pasa (1841-1907), Orhan Peker (1927-1978), Ismet Dogan (1957-), Omer Kalesi (1932-), Cihat Burak (1915-1994) , Ihsan Cemal Karaburçak (1897-1970), Avni Arbas (1919-2003), Sema Gürbüz (1960-) and Adnan Çoker (1927-). A number of temporary exhibits and permanent installations are situated downstairs. There is also a photography gallery, cinema hall, video art area and new media art area.

Signs are posted in Turkish and English and give a brief account of the artwork and its artist. If this doesn’t satisfy, free guided tours are available (Thursday – Sunday, 3pm & 5pm; must be reserved in advance by phone). For those who prefer to go at their own pace, audio guides are also available in Turkish and English.

Even the young ones are catered for at Istanbul Modern, with a designated interactive exhibition area and an education program for those aged between 6-12 years.

The Museum also boasts an arts library, gift shop and café/restaurant where visitors can enjoy a glass of wine or Turkish coffee while watching passing boats or see the sun set over the old town of Sultanahmet and the Asian side of Istanbul.”

From the Museum:

“İstanbul Modern’s exhibition spaces occupy 2 main areas.

The Museum’s Permanent Collection is housed on the Upper Floor Galleries. In order to create interesting alternatives for visitors to interpret and relate to the artworks on display, they are rotated and grouped according to different themes every year.

The spacious Lower Floor Gallery hosts 3 to 4 Temporary Exhibitions annually. These include a Retrospective Exhibition, a survey of modern Turkish artists, and an international Contemporary Art Exhibition.”

The Museum itself is a decent size and houses plenty of work to keep you entertained/occupied for two to four hours.  Upstairs features their permanent collection.  When we went the exhibition on the left featured new media works, the one on the right more traditional Turkish artists and artworks.  Downstairs the museum had two exhibitions open: One tame photographic narrative starred a sex doll and on the other side, a video exhibition, Paradise Lost.  For me the latter made the visit worthwhile (along with one Julian Opie work upstairs).  Rather ironically, one of the exhibition descriptions mentioned that a museum is a place to separate oneself from the capitalistic model of consumption that is found in the “real” world…something the museum undoubtedly participates in (just ask the manager of the gift shop or restaurant).  Speaking of the restaurant, the views are spectacular as you are right on the water.  The food prices are somewhat high, and the drink prices are astronomical ($4.80 for an orange juice that you can get for $.60 from any of the hundreds…or thousands of juice bars throughout the city).  Go on Thursday, entry is free and donate what you think the experience is worth (Or spend the 14 Lira entrance fee on a drink or some magnets in the gift shop…no wait, those are 20 Lira).

Special note: No images could be taken in the museum

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