For A Start...

İstiklal Caddesi is acquiring yet another new venue for contemporary art: ‘Arter - Sanat İçin Alan’ (Arter - A Space for Art).

The scuttlebutt has had it for months. We all knew. It was in Beyoğlu. The opening was coming soon. And sure enough, scuttlebutt got it right. The day is May the 8th. A Vehbi Koç Foundation project, ‘Arter - A Space for Art’ is opening May 8th with an exhibition appropriately entitled, ‘Starter’. Featured in the exhibition are over 160 works by 87 artists chosen from the Foundation’s contemporary art collection.
The location, just as scuttlebutt had it, is İstiklal Caddesi No. 211, opposite Borusan Müzik Evi. Scuttlebutt got only one thing wrong: Arter is not a museum, nor is it slated to become one. At most the space could become a laboratory and research venue for putting together the museum the Vehbi Koç Foundation aims to found in the future. Topping the list of Arter’s aims is to support and exhibit new artistic productions and afford artists more visibility. Providing the infrastructure for sustainable production in the form of resources, exhibitions, promotions, publications and educational activities for artists will at the same time foster the expansion of the Foundation’s collection.


Efforts to turn the building that hosts Arter into an exhibition space go back three years. Thought to have been built by Petraki Meymaridis Efendi, the architect of the city’s 6th Municipal District (Beyoğlu) at the start of the 1900’s, the building appears as ‘Meymaret Han’ in Republican period records.

Now Meymaret Han is welcoming Arter’s first exhibition, ‘Starter’, in an 864-square meter space spread over four floors. Curator of the exhibition is René Block, a name well-known to the Turkish art world from the 1995 Fourth Istanbul Biennial and concurrent Fluxus Retrospective.
A harbinger of developments in the Vehbi Koç Foundation, ‘Starter’ features works by a number of contemporary painters from the 1960’s right up to our day. Some of the participating artists are Adel Abidin, Halil Altiındere, Nevin Aladağ, Maja Bajevi, Elina Brotherus, Cevdet Erek and Michael Sailstorfer with their current work, as well as such precursors of the contemporary as Joseph Beuys, John Cage, Cengiz Çekil, Ayşe Erkmen, Rebecca Horn, Gülsün Karamustafa, Sophie Calle and Allan Kaprow with their now classic creations.