Istanbul Modern is a popular museum of contemporary art located at the banks of the harbor on the European side of the city. The proper name is Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, or İstanbul Modern Sanat Müzesi in Turkish. It has been an outstanding showcase for Turkish artists since 2004. Currently it resides in a converted waterfront warehouse but is scheduled to move into its future location being built nearby.

External view of Istanbul Modern

Instanbul Modern currently resides in a converted warehouse on the waterfront by the Istanbul Harbor looking at the ‘Historic Peninsula’ across the entrance of the Golden Horn.

A marquee in the form of an animated dancing figure greets visitors at the door.

A marquee in the form of an animated dancing figure greets visitors at the door.

The museum features exhibition space on two floors. The top floor houses museum’s permanent collection, a nice restaurant overlooking the harbor and the historic quarter of the city along with a souvenir shop.

Istanbul Modern Restaurant

A nice restaurant and a bar overlooking the harbor and the historic quarter of the city serve visitors of the museum or customers who come in for dining alone.

The lower floor is reserved for transient exhibitions, as well as a movie theater and an arts library. The permanent collection features work by Turkish painters from the late 19th through 21st centuries such as Hoca Ali Riza (landscapes), Migurdic Givani (numerous depictions of Istanbul), Nuri Iyem (peasant women) and Burhan Dogançay (the magnificient era). Also included in this collection are work by non-Turkish artists like Tony Cragg, Julian Opie, and Monica Bonvicini (Stairway to Hell). Visitors may choose to enjoy contemporary video works by Hale Tenger Canan, and Sukran Moral. All this to say that art lovers are assured to enjoy outstanding samples of modern and contemporary works by Turkish artists and the country’s artistic creativity and cultural identity.

The Door by Burhan Uygur

One of the works on display, The Door by Burhan Uygur

Blue Haired Boy by Sahin Kaygun

Another work on display, Blue Haired Boy by Sahin Kaygun

The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10:00–18:00, with the closing time extended to 20:00 on Thursdays. Admission is free for children under 12, members, and disabled visitors while admission is free for all guests on Thursdays.

Istanbul Modern is a favorite field trip and school outing destination for young visitors.

Istanbul Modern is a favorite field trip and school outing destination for young visitors.

Thursdays are a little more busier due to young patrons taking advantage of the free-for-all admission.

Thursdays are a little more busier due to young patrons taking advantage of the free-for-all admission.

Grade schoolers taking in teacher’s discourse in front of BAD, a piece by Doug Aitken. The installation is made of a combination of high density foam, wood, mirror and painted glass.

Grade schoolers taking in teacher’s discourse in front of BAD, a piece by Doug Aitken. The installation is made of a combination of high density foam, wood, mirror and painted glass.

Currently (May 2017), a special project is being exhibited right outside and beside the main building of the museum. It is called the ‘Darzana’ (below), a word used by different peoples living around the Mediterranean Sea, meaning shipyard. The installation depicts an old vessel constructed using parts discovered at an abandoned shipyard in Istanbul. It was assembled to be displayed at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, Italy in 2016. Following its stint at the exhibition it was brought back to Istanbul and re-assembled at its current location.

‘Darzana’, an old vessel re-constructed using parts discovered at an abandoned shipyard in Istanbul. Following its re-construction it made the trip to from Venice, Italy (unassembled and packed in boxes, of course).

‘Darzana’ represents shared cultural components of communities living around the Mediterranean Sea.

The central location of the museum, offers easy access to visitors. It is on the bus and tram route between Karakoy and Tophane on the southwest shore of the harbor.