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 PRESS RELEASE
 
  Istanbul Modern
 

ISTANBUL , March15, 2005 - Istanbul ’s newest attraction is also its most “modern” – literally.  It is Istanbul Modern, the city’s first modern art museum housed in a historic century-old former school building overlooking the Sea of Marmara .  Opened Dec. 12 with a celebration presided over by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the 86,000-square foot Istanbul Modern’s mission is to be “a living museum that embraces the public,” an institution of culture and learning that will attract one million visitors a year and help further enhance Istanbul as a cultural capital of Europe.  

To fulfill its mission of integrating art with its audience and to showcase the museum’s collection of abstract paintings, portraits, sculptures and photographs, Istanbul Modern takes a multi-faceted and interactive approach.  The building encompasses galleries for permanent and temporary exhibitions, a sculpture garden, photography gallery, library, cinema center, museum shop, cafĂ© and a space dedicated to a diverse array of educational programs designed for a wide range of age groups.     

The main galleries on the first floor house the museum’s permanent collection, much of which was donated by the prominent Eczacibasi family, the driving force behind Istanbul Modern and perennial patrons of international cultural events in Turkey .   The collection is presented thematically to spotlight the principal trends and major works of modern and contemporary art since the early 20th century. The inaugural exhibition, presenting an eclectic combination of works by 100 Turkish and expatriate artists painted between 1900 and 2000, is entitled “Observation/Interpretation/Multiplicity 1.”

The temporary exhibition gallery on the ground floor is reserved for rotating presentations of modern and contemporary art in the context of its historical development, utilizing diverse exhibition methods.  A retrospective of the late Turkish artist Fikret Mualla, internationally for powerful paintings inspired by his tragic life, runs through March.  It will be succeeded by “This is just the beginning,” curated by Rosa Martinez, Istanbul Modern’s chief curator, which will be up through August.

The sculpture garden at the entrance portrays a historical survey of contemporary sculpture, while just inside, the foyer welcomes visitors into a digital museum environment where a wireless network enables them to view examples of new media art.  This area also exhibits video art by young talents, which reflects emerging trends.

Like the temporary gallery, the photography gallery is dedicated to rotating exhibitions with different conceptual frameworks and the museum’s Arthouse Cinema Center screens a diverse program of classic movies, independent productions and festival films.   It also hosts concerts and theater performances organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts.

To further highlight its “living” persona a team of experts were engaged to create programs for children and adults that help them gain a greater appreciation for modern art.   Witness workshops on such topics as “Getting to Know an Artist” and “Understanding and Interpreting Works of Art.”   

Istanbul Modern is a private venture, the vision of a group of art collectors and philanthropists.  It is operated under the umbrella of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, the organization behind the city’s annual production of internationally acclaimed film, jazz, theater and music festivals. The Turkish government has contributed to the effort by improving access to Istanbul Modern’s environs.

Istanbul Modern is located at Meclis-i Mebusan Cad. Liman Sahasi Antrepo No:4 Karaköy. Its hours are Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except on Thursday, when the museum remains open until 8 p.m.  Regular admission is 5 YTL.  Student and group admission are 2 YTL.  For more information about Istanbul Modern, please visit www.istanbulmodern.org

Turkey , the site of two wonders of the ancient world, is a present-day marvel – the cradle of civilization, the very center of world history and a modern Westward-looking republic. It is a country of fascinating contrasts, where antiquity is juxtaposed with the contemporary, the familiar with the exotic; where sun-swept beaches beckon less than an hour away from snow-capped mountains, and everywhere visitors are treated to the extraordinary warmth of the Turkish people.


For information about travel to Turkey, call 1-877-FOR-TURKEY 
or contact the Turkish Culture and Tourism Offices in New York at 212-687-2194 
or in Washington D.C. at 202-612-6800 or in Los Angeles at 323-937-8066
and visit www.tourismturkey.org 
or www.kulturturizm.gov.tr

 

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