Istanbul's top 7 art galleries

From tiny, quirky galleries to expansive exhibitions, here's where to see the city's coolest contemporary artists at work

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1. artSümer

Gallery director Asli Sümer has an extraordinary ability for developing artists at the early stages of their careers. Her space in the trendy Karaköy district, by the Bosphorus close to the mouth of the Golden Horn, is a great place to get to know artists destined for big things. Most of the artists are home-grown talents, although upcoming exhibitions include Merve Ustünalp originally born in Çanakkale and Burcu Gökçek from Ankara. Don't miss their Picasso-esque paintings, abstract photos and quirky portraits.

Address: Kemankes mah, mumhane cad. Laroz han no.67, karakoy 34425, Istanbul

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2. Pilot Galeri

A cool and cavernous former 70s nightclub in Cihangir, one of the most ‘European’ parts of the city. Despite its location, Pilot Galleri has strong links to the other side of the famous Istanbul crossroads, representing several important artists from Eastern Turkey as well as South Russian-born Bashir Borlakov, and Hamara Abbas from Kuwait. Here you'll find an array of artistically-designed spaces, home to plenty of thoughtful, contemporary projects. 

Address: Sıraselviler caddesi. No:83/2, Beyoğlu/İstanbul

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3. Galeri NON

Derya Demir's gallery, NON, aims to push the boundaries of artistic disciplines and open up new dialogues and practices. She also runs NON Stage, an off-site project which presents exhibitions around Istanbul. 

The gallery is in a temporary home inside the Adahan Hotel at the moment, and will move into a new permanent space in the Galatasaray neighbourhood this September. 

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4. Galerist

Housed in a beautiful old apartment in Pera, with the original painted murals remaining alongside ‘white cube’ walls, Galerist has been around since 2001 making it one of the more established contemporary art galleries in Istanbul. Galerist represents important Turkish artists and aims to provide them with 'a unique expression space'. 

Address: Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:67 K:1, 34340 Beyoğlu, İstanbul

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5. Arter

Collection exhibitions from the Vehbi Koc Foundation’s treasure trove of Turkish contemporary art are rotated with solo presentations and group shows featuring new material in this beautifully restored four-floor building on Istanbul’s main shopping street. Artists with recent solo exhibitions include Matt Collishaw, Voklan Arslan, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Sophia Pompery and Mona Hatoum.

Here you'll find video montages, sculptures and photography, making for a culturally-cool and very contemporary presentation.

Address: Istiklal Cad. No: 211, Beyoglu 34433, Istanbul Turkey

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The two SALT buildings in central Istanbul – SALT Beyoglu on Istiklal Avenue, and SALT Galata near the bridge over the Golden Horn – share an integrated programme including exhibitions, film screenings, a research library, performances, concerts and workshops. The uniting theme is timely issues in visual and material culture, and exhibitions range from the restoration of Ottoman monuments to Russian Soviet architecture and 20th century Turkish activist art. The terrace restaurant at SALT Galata, is one of the best places in Istanbul to take a break from sightseeing and take in a view. 

Address: SALT Beyoğlu , Istiklal Caddesi 136, Beyoğlu 34430, Istanbul and SALT Galata, Bankalar Caddesi 11, Karaköy, Istanbul

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7. 5533 

Filiz Avunduk, who helped curate this year’s Turkish pavilion at the Venice Bienale with Emre Baykal, runs this non-profit art space in the last place you’d expect to find one – inside an enormous 1950s manufacturers’ shopping centre filled with musical instruments, textiles and garden furniture just down the hill from the Suleymaniye Mosque and the 4th century Roman Valens aqueduct. Well worth seeking out. Check the website for current exhibitions and events. 

Address: 5533- İMÇ 5.Blok no: 5533 Unkapanı-Istanbul

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Dyala Nusseibeh is the Fair Director for ArtInternational (running from 16-18 September 2013); an event bringing together leading international and local galleries to a new, modern and contemporary art fair, offering visitors unrivalled access to new art from Turkey, Europe, the Middle East and beyond. Find out more:

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