The Istanbul Modern Sanat Müzesi, or just Istanbul Modern as it’s called, is a fine modern art museum(Istanbul Modern Sanat Müzesi) located in a vast former dock warehouse in Tophane (TOHP-hah-neh) on the southern Bosphorus shore one km north of the Galata Bridge and Karaköy (Galata) and south of Kabataş and Dolmabahçe Palace (map).
Take the Bağcılar-Kabataş tram toward Kabataş and get out at the Tophane stop.
Walk past the Ottoman baroque Nusretiye Camii (Nusretiye mosque) on the mosque’s north side. (Don’t confuse the Nusretiye mosque with the smaller, darker, single-minaret Kılıç Ali Paşa mosque to the south.)
Just past the Nusretiye mosque, turn right, pass through a barrier gate, then bear right and look for the museum building. Guards will assist you.
Opened in 2004, the museum is sparely, beautifully done. Changing exhibits include works by both Turkish and foreign artists, although the museum’s prime purpose is to encourage the creation of modern art in Turkey, so Turkish artists are rightly given primacy of place.
Next to the Istanbul Modern is the Contemporary Art Museum of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi Çağdaş Sanat Müzesi). If your head and heart want even more modern art, spend some time here as well.
After you’re done visiting the museums you can have a snack and smoke a nargile (water pipe) at the long row of nargile cafes right by the Nusretiye mosque.
Istanbul’s other significant museum of modern art is the Proje 4L/Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art (Proje 4L/Elgiz Çağdaş Sanat Müzesi), 12 km (7.5 miles) north of Taksim Square in Maslak, not far from the Sheraton Istanbul Maslak hotel.
—by Tom Brosnahan
|Tophane-i Amire Culture & Arts Center|