The burgeoning art scene in Istanbul is nothing to be ignored. So far one of my favorite places to partake in the artistic offerings of the city is Istanbul Modern, which opened in 2011. Located approximately 1/2 mile from the Karakoy port, Istanbul Modern is quickly accessible to travelers and natives alike. If you happen to take the ferry over from Kadikoy, the gallery is clearly visible. It is a nondescript modern building that is wholly unimpressive at first glance. Walking up to the building one is greeted by modern art sculptures sitting on a bed of green lawn in the shadow of an ancient clock-tower. It is delightfully beautiful, reminiscent of a secret garden.
Per usual, the museum is full of wide open spaces so that patrons can enjoy the ocular feast sans crowd. Stunning works of art line the walls and photography is for the most part allowed. In addition to the art Istanbul Modern is a standout facility for two reasons. First it is completely handicap accessible, boasting a ramp, elevator, and wheelchair accessible bathroom This is a rarity in Istanbul and worth noting for people with mobility issues. The second standout feature of Istanbul Modern is that it is wiling to cater to families with children. Children are encouraged to visit, participate in workshops, and learn museum etiquette.
Istanbul’s contemporary art museum is an easy afternoon visit, though subsequent visits will most certainly be required. My absolute favorite part of the museum was the library with its floating book ceiling. What reader hasn’t dreamed of a heaven where clouds were books to curl up in and have amazing adventures. I was spell-bound by the floating books and have plans to go there and write in the near future.
In the lower levels of the museum are regional pieces of art (no photography is allowed here) that will blow your mind. During my visit, art created by Turkish school children depicting Istanbul city scenes hung enchantingly in a pyramid display while famous drawings by Turkish political cartoonists sit in another. Current and upcoming exhibitions include, “On the Road” a collection of photographs from the Nar Photos archive and “100 Years of Love“, a cinematic extravaganza depicting the changing face of Istanbul. All in all, Istanbul Modern is a trip worth making and a welcome addition to Istanbul’s art scene.