İstanbul Modern – modern art in many different ways 

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İstanbul Modern – modern art in many different ways 

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, surprised me pleasantly with its diversity and stunning location. The range of art in this museum is vast and intriguing. Additionally, the museum building itself holds a dazzling architectural surprise.

Location and arrival

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.

The location of İstanbul Modern (İstanbul Modern Sanat Müzesi) couldn’t be better. Situated on the European side in the Beyoğlu district (in Tophane) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait. The museum café and terraces offer a particularly spectacular view of the Marmara Sea and even the Princes’ Islands. Moreover, with just one glance, you can see both Asia and Europe. Truly unique!

You can easily reach the museum by T1 tram. At the same time, if you wish, you can also visit the neighboring, relatively new, and vast Galataport İstanbul, which is both a busy cruise port and a shopping mall.

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.
The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.

Museum experience

Although İstanbul Modern is a museum of modern and contemporary art, I find it remarkably diverse – both in terms of its artworks and its functions.

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.
The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.

I believe that every visitor will likely find something deeply touching among the museum’s artworks. This isn’t necessarily typical for contemporary art museums; they’re not usually at the top of my list. But Istanbul is different; there’s content, depth, quality, and internationalism in its art in all sectors.

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.
The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.

This is how İstanbul Modern presents itself:

”İstanbul Modern is Türkiye’s first museum of modern and contemporary art. With a vision to support the diversity of artistic expressions, it collects, preserves, exhibits, researches, and documents works of art.

The museum works to increase access to art through interdisciplinary exhibitions, educational programs and events, and contributes to artists’ production and international collaborations.”

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.

”The museum supports creativity and inclusivity to create a sustainable art ecosystem. It fosters a dialogue with modern and contemporary art for audiences of all ages and fields of life, encouraging people to wonder and think together.”

”The internationally oriented programs strengthen the interaction between artists and audiences by making use of technological developments. This enables a multifaceted museum experience.”

Dazzling architectural surprise

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.

We began our museum visit on the top floor terrace – and it was truly worth it. The execution of the vision by the architect of the museum, Renzo Piano, combined with the breathtaking view, astounded us to the core with its brilliance.

Though the art within the museum is magnificent, this was still the most impressive experience. Water, sea, sky, reflections, birds, and once again water… Let the photos speak for themselves. Or better yet, go and experience this beauty for yourself!

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.

Notes for visitors & suggestions for improvement to the museum

Out of a sense of responsibility, if only for safety reasons, I feel compelled to share the following observations and words of caution for museum visitors. At the same time, we send our suggestions for improvement to the museum.

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.

After undergoing two security checks (including metal detector machines) and purchasing tickets, we were unexpectedly required to surrender all our belongings for the duration of our museum visit. This included everything – our passports, money, bank cards, and phones – even our child’s tissue and water bottle, despite him having a cold. And also, women’s handbags.

We refused this demand, despite strong pressure from the museum staff. Our rationale was that such behavior from the museum is neither appropriate nor normal. We believe we came out of the situation victorious because we had locals with us.

I remind tourists never to surrender personal documents or money anywhere, to anyone, under any circumstances! Only authorities have the right to confiscate items (even then, with reason), not museum staff.

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.
The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.

In addition to this initial difficulty at the beginning of our visit, the problems continued. The museum guards disrupted the enjoyment of art during our museum tour, constantly making unwarranted remarks to all visitors.

The staff should remember that the primary reason for visiting a museum is to enjoy art. Additionally, there is such a virtue as friendly customer service. Also, proficiency in English should be a given in today’s world, especially in such an international tourist destination.

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.

As a result, we were unfortunately left with the feeling that we were by no means welcome. Paradoxically, the issue was not with the art but with the museum’s own practices.

Istanbul is clearly one of the world’s most important tourist destinations. Istanbul has even been included in Travel and Leisure magazine’s 2024 “The 50 Best Places to Travel” list. The magazine specifically recommends İstanbul Modern as a must-visit destination. Hopefully, the museum’s customer service will also improve to an international standard.

I found my home country Finland in the museum shop

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.

As a Finn, it was touching to see that the museum shop honored the design of my home country with an “Iittala” book in its selection. This book, published by Phaidon, celebrated Iittala’s 140 years of success in 2021.

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.
The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.

Thanks to the artists of İstanbul Modern

The art at İstanbul Modern was inspiring – warm thanks to all the wonderful artists! Furthermore, this museum is not just an art exhibition, but it also encompasses a variety of activities. All of this cannot fit into this blog post, so for more information, you can find it here: İstanbul Modern

The modern and contemporary art museum, İstanbul Modern, is located on the European side (in the Beyoğlu district) with a beautiful sea view at the intersection of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.
As an enriching day filled with art draws to a close, as night falls, it’s time to bid farewell. Then, history and modernity meet in the evening in Istanbul…

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