Lütfi Özkök: Portraits
21 Dec 2019 – 03 May 2020
The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Turkey’s first private museum to organize modern and contemporary art exhibitions, was founded in 2004 and occupies an 8,000 square meter site on the shores of the Bosphorus.
Istanbul Modern embraces a global vision to collect, preserve, exhibit and document works of modern and contemporary art and make them accessible to art lovers.
As part of its commitment to sharing Turkey’s artistic creativity with wide audiences and promoting its cultural identity in the international art world, Istanbul Modern hosts a broad array of interdisciplinary activities.
Apart from permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, a photography gallery, and spaces for educational and social programs, the museum offers a cinema, restaurant, design store and an extensive library.
From the Chair of the Board
When Istanbul Modern opened, we promised to offer our audiences an opportunity to witness, learn about, enjoy, appreciate and to continually become updated with the evolution of contemporary art. In order to establish museum visits as sustained leisure activities, to increase Museum attendance on a cumulative basis, and to constantly capture the public’s attention, we aspired to create a dynamic and evolving structure. We believe that we have achieved this goal.
The Museum provides a multifaceted, attractive and accessible communications platform that engages first-time visitors, as well as contemporary art enthusiasts, primary school children and scholars.
Overall, we feel that we have created a vibrant, family-friendly space that addresses a wide range of tastes, cultures and interests.
The Museum has become especially attractive to young audiences who are drawn to the interactive activities that we provide. With its permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, the photography gallery, new media area, library, cinema, educational programs, gift store, and restaurant, Istanbul Modern encourages a creative and interactive museum experience for its visitors.
The Museum has become a multipurpose cultural center for the encounters of everyday living and culture as well as serves as a catalyst for the collective energy that is generated by the interactive activities and experiences presented by the Museum.
Through an active roster of exhibitions and programs, we believe that we have opened new perspectives, spurred curiosity and encouraged reflection in the Turkish public. As a result of these efforts, we have succeeded in familiarizing the Turkish public with the entire scope of the Museum and we have encouraged frequent Museum visits.
In the nine years since the Museum’s launch, we have organized five permanent collection exhibitions and thirty-five temporary exhibitions. In addition, we have hosted twenty-nine photography exhibitions of world renowned artists from Turkey and abroad, fourteen video exhibitions in the field of video art, and organized sixteen international exhibitions.
But Istanbul Modern does not only limit itself to the display of artworks; it aims to fulfill an educational role as well. Both inside and outside of the Museum, we have instigated programs to acquaint the younger generation with the visual arts. Since the museum opened, hundreds of thousands of children and young people have benefited from our educational offerings.
Complementing all these activities, the private sector, the public and the local government have worked together to support the Museum and, as a result have engendered a novel and unique synergy. The collaboration between these three areas has further energized the Museum.
Aware of their social responsibilities, Turkish companies have supported, and continue to support, the various programs and exhibitions undertaken by the Istanbul Modern. To date, our exhibit sponsors have included some of Turkey’s leading corporations.
While the support of high quality and widely publicized activities are important to increase the social visibility and esteem of these institutions, individuals and media holdings. They in turn lend us their sponsorship and contributions, which then provides us with the vital assistance we need.
Through the activities I have briefly summed up, Istanbul Modern is now reaching out to broader segments of society and is gradually getting closer to accomplishing the original founding objectives. The number of visitors has increased rapidly and over the past seven years has now reached a total of more than 5 million. Every passing day, we are more firmly established in the public eye as a museum symbolizing the encounter of art and society.
Furthermore, as the Museum consolidates its social ties, it has also achieved international recognition, making it a popular destination today for visitors to Istanbul from all parts of the world.
There have been world-wide media reports and beneficial results for Istanbul Modern in the international press. From the day it was launched, the Museum has enjoyed a consistently high level of attention. These days, as we negotiate our entry into the EU, Istanbul Modern has become a regular stopover for foreign correspondents visiting Turkey.
While all critical reviews agree that our modern art legacy goes back a long way, they also stress that Istanbul Modern, which the New York Times called, "the changing face of Turkey," makes a very definite statement about Istanbul's image as a major cultural capital.
Thus, Istanbul Modern is rapidly moving ahead on its path to becoming a recognizable world-wide brand name; a brand name that embodies the Turkish contemporary art scene.
Chair of the Board