The art scene in Istanbul has gradually shifted from a heavily traditional one that celebrates the city’s history to a contemporary one that prizes its upstarts. Less than a decade ago, the city’s Museum of Modern Art was inaugurated. Last year the contemporary art space SALT opened. This year nearly a dozen Istanbul galleries will be on hand at London’s Frieze and at Art Basel.
Now, it seems, the city has truly come into its own as a contemporary art hub.
Because culture so often regenerates, even within this nascent world is an older guard — established artists whose work graces the sort of pristine minimalist galleries you’d find in Chelsea in Manhattan — and rogues who create subversive street art. They, too, are gaining a foothold, sometimes presenting works in cooperation with cosmopolitan institutions. But their art, which is often on view in public spaces, seems more accessible to tourists, who may unknowingly come across it on a stroll through the city.
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