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Istanbul Modern

Photos and information: The museum in Istanbul and works of the collection in an exhibition in Berlin, Germany.
Dec 2009

A selection from the collection of the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, nicknamed Istanbul Modern, is currently on view in Berlin in the Martin-Gropius-Bau. It is part of the project "Istanbul Next Wave", which consists of three exhibitions and is being staged by the city of Istanbul and the Academy of Arts Berlin in cooperation with Kulturprojekte Berlin on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the city partnership Berlin-Istanbul. It is also the international overture to the program with which Istanbul is presenting itself as European Cultural Capital 2010.

The overview exhibition from the Istanbul Modern, curated by Levent Çalוkoğlu and showing 82 works created by 73 artists between 1928 and 2008, places the current art production of the Turkish metropolis in the context of the country’s art-historical development, from the controversial interaction with Western Modernism from 1920 to 1950 through the emancipation of autonomous aesthetic positions in the 1960s to 1980s to the internationally networked art scene of the last two decades. The exhibition aims to show Turkish artists’ self-confident dealings with international developments and their reinterpretation, on the one hand, and Turkish Modernism’s separate path, on the other.

On December 11, 2004, the Istanbul Modern opened as Turkey’s first private museum for modern and contemporary art. The Eczacıbaşı family is the driving force behind it, but many other collectors, institutions, companies, politicians, etc. are also involved. The Chairwoman of the Istanbul Modern’s Curatorium is Oya Eczacıbaşı, the wife of the CEO of the Eczacıbaşı Holding.

Since the first Istanbul Biennial in 1987, and inspired by it, the Eczacıbaşı family made several attempts to found a Museum of Modern Art. Interestingly, the project was ultimately realized thanks to support from Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Chairman of the Islamic Party for Justice and Development (AKP) and Prime Minister of Turkey since March 2003. And of course it was no coincidence that the Istanbul Modern was opened at almost the same time when the European Union summit meeting was held in Copenhagen, where it was decided to begin accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey.

A warehouse hall from the 1950s situated directly on the Bosphorus was remodeled for the Istanbul Modern. It is on the pier that served as Istanbul’s main harbor until 1990 and where large passenger ships still dock. Right next to it are the four warehouses of Antrepo; beginning in 1995 and occasionally later, one and then the other of these were used as exhibition sites for the Istanbul Biennial.

The permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, the photo gallery, a library, a cinema, and rooms for video and educational programs are housed on a surface totaling about 8,000 square meters. The restaurant offers a magnificent view across the Bosphorus to the mouth of the Golden Horn and the Old City with the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and other historical buildings.

The museum operators explicitly underscore their global vision of collecting, exhibiting, documenting, and mediating modern and contemporary art, whereby the artistic production of their own country receives special attention, of course. Along with the exhibition program, the Istanbul Modern seeks to use special offers, particularly for younger visitors and families, to enter into vibrant interaction with the local public, fulfill its educational task, and in general become a meeting place of public life in the city.

(Compiled from press releases on the exhibition in Berlin and information from the Istanbul Modern.
Translation from German: Mitch Cohen)

Photos and information ►

Istanbul Modern Berlin
Exhibition within the project "Istanbul Next Wave"

12 November 2009 -
17 January 2010
Niederkirchnerstr. 7
10963 Berlin, Germany

Levent Çalוkoğlu,
in cooperation with Çetin Güzelhan (main curator of Istanbul Next Wave)

Istanbul Modern

Meclis-i Mebusan Cad. Liman İşletmeleri
Sahası Antrepo No. 4
34433 Karaköy

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