Berlin, Paris, London, Amsterdam… And why not also Istanbul? The four cities mentioned at the beginning of this text have always been considered mandatory stops for art lovers. But the Turkish metropolis stands as another of the main capitals of contemporary galleries. Istanbul exudes history, tradition, and art in each of its corners. Although sometimes it may seem difficult to find an iota of modernity among so many unique alleyways and markets, contemporary has a considerable place in this area of Turkey.
Whether or not you are passionate about art, you must take advantage of the six proposals we offer you below. Through these galleries, you will discover an Istanbul that very few know. We hope you like them!
- Galeri Apel was opened in November 1998 by Nuran Terzioğlu, who previously served as the director of Ankara Tanbay and Urart Art galleries. Located so close to the Istiklal Caddesi, this gallery always has a very interesting offer of international contemporary exhibitions.
- Pi Artworks is an international contemporary art gallery with two spots: one in London and another one in Istanbul, in Beyoğlu. This movement was born in the Turkish city in 1998, but in 2013 they decided to open another gallery in England. Their goal has always been to offer a diverse program that facilitates social change.
- Dirimart is an art gallery located in Beyoğlu and founded in 2002 by Hazel Özil. Two decades after its opening, it can be said that this is one of the main contemporary art galleries in the country. Mainly, this space works with emerging artists from Turkey, something that gives it a special touch, as it is one of the most local galleries in the metropolis.
- Galerist was founded in 2001 and, like the other galleries mentioned so far, it is located in Beyoğlu. In its day-to-day, this gallery acts as a showcase for contemporary, national and international artists, but from some to time it also participates in international art fairs.
- Galeri Nev is one of the most active art spaces in Turkey. It was founded in 1987, also in Beyoğlu, and since then it has been the house where Turkish artists such as İnci Eviner and Murat Morova have made themselves known. In addition to organizing exhibitions, this gallery has also published books, monographs and art catalogs.
- X-ist was founded to support young contemporary artists to produce universal ideas. Located also in Beyoğlu, this gallery has been one of the main agents responsible for fostering the growth of the contemporary art scene in Turkey.
Write down these contemporary museums too
But these galleries are not everything for the contemporary art that lives in Istanbul. In addition to visiting these small spaces, you also have to delve into the contemporary art museums of the Turkish metropolis. Among all, the most popular is the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. Although this museum is currently closed because it is moving to Karaköy, its opening is expected to take place in the coming months. This museum was founded in 2004, with the intention of becoming a meeting point for local and international artists. Within its walls, you can find all kinds of creative disciplines: photography, design, architecture...
If you still have time, you can't miss the IMOGA Istanbul Museum of Graphic Arts either. This museum is located in Üsküdar and was founded to facilitate the understanding of original printmaking in Turkey. That is why, in addition to having exhibitions, they also organize guided tours for schools or groups.
Likewise, we also recommend you visit Arter, a museum that has brought up to 35 contemporary art exhibitions to Istanbul between 2010 and 2018. Although it was initially located on Istiklal Caddesi, at the end of 2019 the museum moved to Dolapdere. The building has about 18,000 square meters of space, in which not only exhibitions are offered, but also performances and events of any artistic discipline.
Last but not least, Istanbul hast also de Borusan Contemporary “a multi-platform contemporary art institution that supports new art production and art writing by order”, as described by the museum on its webpage. Since 2011, it is focus on international artists who include photography, video, sound, light, software and data in their art.
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