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  • Sep 09, 2019

Vasıf Kortun To Lead Istanbul Painting And Sculpture Museum


Curator and art historian Vasıf Kortun is tapped to be founding advisor of the newly completed Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum, which will welcome visitors to the 16th Istanbul Biennial this week, ahead of an official launch in early 2020. Designed by Emre Arolat, the museum’s new building is located along the Bosphorus, near the former site of Istanbul Modern and the Antrepo warehouses used in past editions of the Biennial before they were demolished in the Galataport redevelopment project.

Kortun’s appointment was initially announced in May by Handan İnci, the rector of the state-run Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, which administers the Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum. In his new role, Kortun will be instrumental in establishing the museum’s protocols and practices. He previously served as the founding director of research and programs at Istanbul’s non-profit contemporary art center SALT from 2011 to 2017. He also founded the private Project 4L, Istanbul Museum of Contemporary Art in 2001, leaving his directorial position in 2003.

The Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum was founded in 1938 at the Dolmabahçe Palace. Its collection contains many works from the late-Ottoman era in the 20th century as well as the early period of the Republic following the Turkish War of Independence (1919–22). The institution has been closed for much of its existence, and its collection inaccessible to the public. In a recent interview with Gazete Duvar, Kortun noted that the collection has many important artworks that have been neither adequately studied nor seen by the public. The museum will remain affiliated with and funded by the university, following a model similar to Istanbul’s Sakıp Sabanci Museum. The opening program is still in development, with more details expected toward the end of the year. 

*An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Vasıf Kortun’s title. He is the founding advisor not chief director. 

HG Masters is ArtAsiaPacific’s deputy publisher and editor.

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