Istanbul Museum of Modern Art guide

Updated: 17 April 2022 Created: 21 November 2013

Istanbul Museum

Istanbul's Museum of Modern Art was Turkey's first private museum to host and create modern and contemporary art exhibitions. Their vision is to collect, maintain, show, and keep a history of modern and contemporary art and make them accessible to everyone. With their commitment to sharing Turkey's art world with a broader audience and promoting artistic culture amongst international art fraternities, the Istanbul Modern hosts many exhibitions and activities and is a must-visit while in Istanbul.

About the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

In 1987, the idea for the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul came about during the first art exhibition, named International Istanbul Biennial. Mass interest in a permanent museum of contemporary and modern art prompted Dr Nejay F Eczacibasi to take on the task.

After much searching, a former 19th-century manufacturing plant on the Golden Horn was adapted and housed the 3rd International Istanbul Biennial in 1991, but the idea did not take off. Various businesses and people tried to establish the Museum of Modern Art but failed due to a lack of space and art to form a permanent collection.

When the 8th International Istanbul Biennial took place in the 4th warehouse on Galata Pier, the project finally took off. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved the site for permanent use, and the 8,000 square feet building on the Bosphorus shores became home to the Modern Museum building.

They are receiving a refit, though. Pritzker prize-winning architect Renzo Piano designed the new Istanbul Modern building at the museum's original location in Karakoy. Renzo Piano also designed numerous international museums and art institutions, like Centre Pompidou, Whitney Museum, Centro Botin, and Beyeler Foundation Museum. Istanbul Modern's new building includes various exhibition halls, educational workshops, a cinema, library, design shop, event spaces, and a café and restaurant.

The museum appeals to everyone and is ideal for spending 4 hours. There are two floors and lots of gallery rooms with art shown in many ways, such as through paintings, sculptures, mobiles, and digital video. The hallway approaching the library is a must-see as it has an array of suspended books along with the approach.

The reasonably priced museum cafe serves excellent food with stunning sea views. The gift shop is also very reasonable and a great place to pick up a souvenir of your day. There are ample grounds surrounding the museum for children to run about for a while. Whether you are an art lover or not, you cannot help but appreciate the Modern Museum, and why the landmark building is such a popular tourist attraction in Istanbul.

Other Attractions in Istanbul

Beyoglu Attractions: Istanbul Museum of Modern Art sits near the Beyoglu district of Istanbul, which holds many other attractions that will interest tourists and anyone buying property in the city. This article talks about them all, including the famous Galata tower nearby and gives reasons why they should be on your list of places to visit.

More Museums in Istanbul: If you are like us, we love exploring museums whichever place we travel. In Istanbul, you will be pleased to know that they have massive amounts of museums that all make for exciting viewing. From the quirky 1453 that talks about the famous conquest of Constantinople to the military museum, giving an insight into Ottoman history, visit these places after the Museum of Modern art, and you will not be disappointed.

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