After much searching a former 19th century manufacturing plant located on the Golden Horn was adapted and housed the 3rd International Istanbul Biennial in 1991, but the ideal aim was still not reached. From then on various businesses and people tried to establish the museum of modern art but failed either due to lack of space or the inability to find enough art to form a solid base for the permanent collection.
The 8th International Istanbul Biennial was held in the 4th warehouse on Galata Pier, and finally the project was given the green light to happen. The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved the site for permanent use and what had been the main issue in previous years was finally solved.
The 8,000 square feet building on the shores of Bosphorus was to become home to the Modern museum building.
The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art is the first private museum in Turkey to host and create modern and contemporary art exhibitions. The ethos of the museum is to collect, maintain, show and keep a history of modern and contemporary art and make them accessible to all. With their commitment to share the art of Turkey with a wider audience and promote the culture amongst the International art fraternity, the Istanbul modern hosts a wealth of associated demonstrations and activities.
As well as offering the temporary and permanent galleries there is a photography area and places where social and educational programmes are held, an extensive library, cinema, restaurant and shop.
The museum will appeal to all and is an ideal way to spend 3 – 4 hours. There are two floors and lots of gallery rooms with art being shown in many different 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 the approach.
The museum cafe serves excellent food and is reasonably priced with stunning views out to sea. 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 should you have children who need to run about for a while.
With the train station situated just outside it is an easy place to get to. The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm with later openings on Thursday until 8pm. Admission is 15TL and this includes the cinema showings, disabled visitors and children under 12 years are free. There is a discounted rate for over 65’s of just 8TL.
Whether you are an art lover or not, you cannot help but appreciate this museum, it is easy to see how it has become such a popular tourist attraction.