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Bangkok Art and Culture: a guide to museums and art galleries that you must visit in Bangkok Center
Bangkok Art and Culture Center, the national gallery and Bangkok’s other highly rated art galleries and museums are listed in this article. If you are a culture vulture and what to take in some of the best artwork that Bangkok has to offer then this article provides a mini guide for your trip to Bangkok.
Thailand’s culture is greatly influenced by Indian, Chinese, Cambodian, and other civilizations in Southeast Asia. It is nearly 94 to 95 percent Theravada Buddhist, a belief in ancestral and natural spirits. It is primarily Indian animistic culture combined with Buddhism.
The Thai culture’s history of artistic achievements dates back from the Prehistoric rock painting in Pha Taem, Thailand to ornate Buddhist temples decorated by intricate woodcarvings, inlays, glass mosaics, and murals.
Today, contemporary art in Thailand interpret their rich and complex cultural heritage through in new and exciting ways. Aside from the visual arts, Thailand also enjoys a thriving film and literary industry.
Below are some of Bangkok’s popular museums and galleries:
1. Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
939 Rama 1 Rd, Pathum Wan, Bangkok
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Located at the corner of the Pathumwan intersection in the middle of shopping centres and just a few minutes from the National Stadium BTS, the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre (BACC) is a place where one can appreciate a wide range of contemporary art, music, design, film, theater, and cultural/educational events by both Thai and International artists. The center, which contains over 4000 square meters of exhibition space, an art library, shops, bookstore, restaurants and a couple of cafes, aims to create a place where artists can hang out.
The BACC also provide cultural programs for the community and create new cultural resources from both the public and the private sectors. It is a venue for cultural exchange that aims to make Bangkok a center for the international art scene. Through the years, some of its exhibitions were contemporary Japanese crafts, new Asian photography, The Mekong River Art Project, and the Young Thai Artist Award.
2. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Bangkok
Chatuchak, Bangkok, Thailand
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The Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok (MOCA) with over 800 pieces of art, has the most comprehensive collection of modern painting and sculpture. The works trace the development of Thai fine art since the introduction of western modernism in Thailand. It is a venue that encourages contemporary artists to explore various themes such as corruption, prostitution, religion, and the changing values of Thailand’s society.
Also on view are the works of all the recipients of Thailand’s National Artist award. A coffee shop is located on the ground floor for museum visitors.
3. Museum of Buddhist Art Bangkok
104, Pattanakan 40 Rd., Suan Luang, Suan Luang, Bangkok
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The Museum of Buddhist Art is said to contain the biggest collection of Buddha statues and sculptures from various kingdoms that had an impact on Thai art and culture since the 6th century AD.
The exhibition contains detailed explanations for each of the statues such as specific characteristics, postures, and the different ways the folds fall in the robes — which all depend upon the various schools of Buddhist art in each era.
The museum is a useful source of knowledge on Buddhist art which is an important aspect of Thai culture.
4. National Gallery of Thailand – Bangkok
Chao Fa Road, Bangkok
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The National Gallery is housed in the former Bureau of Royal Thai Mint, a structure designed in classical European architecture built in 1902 during the reign of King Rama V. It is home to one of the most impressive collections of masterpieces by Thai masters from the late Ayutthaya of the 17th century to contemporary works by legendary painters such as Silp Bhirasri, Chalermchai Kositpipat, Misiem Yipinsoi, and Thawan Duchanee. Works by King Rama VI and the current King Rama IX can be viewed at the Celebration Room.
Works by the Thai artists in the National Gallery range from traditional Thai art to impressionism, cubism, and surrealism.
5. La Lanta Fine Art – Bangkok
14 10110, 245/14 Soi Sukhumvit 31, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok
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Located in the heart of Bangkok, La Lanta Fine Art focuses on contemporary art such as painting, sculpture, prints, and photography by internationally acclaimed artists as well as young talents.
The gallery, which according to Southeast Asia Globe is “one of the region’s most influential art powerhouses,” showcases artistic talent from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, Myanmar, Israel, Belgium, Denmark, UK, the US, and Australia.
Some of the well known artists who are represented by the gallery are: Lu Jun, a Chinese photographer who is a recipient of Florence Biennale’s Gold Prize in Photography in 2009; David Gerstein, an Israel painter and sculptor, who exhibits in numerous museums and public spaces around the world; Stephen Eastaugh, an Australian artist based in Antarctica’s; and Elizabeth Romhild, a famous Danish artist who has worked and lived in Bangkok for the last 25 years.
The gallery is also known for its ‘Young Programme’ for the purpose of discovering fresh and budding artists and offers them opportunities to exhibit their works. The program enables the gallery to embrace new ideas and artistic expressions by the young artists.
6. H Gallery Bangkok
201 Sathorn Soi 12 Bangkok
Image courtesy of Southeast Asia Traveler
H Gallery was established by American H. Ernest Lee in 1999. It focuses on contemporary art by emerging Thai and Asian artists. Set in a 125-year-old colonial style mansion, the gallery contains two separate exhibition spaces that display paintings, photography and textiles done by both local and foreign artists.
In 2011, the gallery launched the H Project Space as a venue for experimental projects and performance art under the curatorship of Irish-born art critic Brian Curtin.
7. 100 Tonson Art Gallery Bangkok
100 soi Tonson, Ploenchit Road, Lumpini, Patumwan, Bangkok
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100 Tonson Art Gallery is one of the foremost contemporary art galleries in Bangkok exhibiting works by high profile artists such as Rirkrit Tiravanija. The gallery is proud for its ability to send Thai artists abroad such as being the first Thai gallery to participate at Art Basel, in Switzerland.
Named after its street address, 100 Tonson Gallery is set in a private residence with a total area of 100 square meters. The gallery’s main thrust is to promote contemporary art by Thai and international artists that include paintings, sculptures, photographs. It is the pioneer installation art, new media, and conceptual art among other galleries in Thailand. In 2007, 100 Tonson Gallery was cited by Contemporary Art magazine in London as among the top 50 emerging galleries from around the world.
The gallery is responsible for bringing Thai and regional artists to international grounds and has participated in various art festivals not just in Basel, but in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, and Dubai as well.
8. The Queen’s Gallery Bangkok
101 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd, Wat Bowon Niwet, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
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The Queen’s Gallery was established in 2003 when Queen Sirikit of Thailand wanted a permanent public exhibition to promote the works of acclaimed senior artists as well as young, emerging Thai artists. She named the exhibition center as “The Queen Sirikit Arts Exhibition Center” in Thai, and “The Queen’s Gallery” in English.
The gallery, which is set in a five-story building with a floor space of 3,700 square meters, displays paintings and works of art by young artists including embroidery designs; paintings and sculptures done by His Majesty the King including works by members of the royal family; and paintings by National artists and contemporary masters.
Visitors can visit The Gallery Shop for souvenirs designed by leading Thai artists, postcards, posters, art books, and T-shirts.
Helpful articles and blog posts on art in Bangkok.
We only recommend writers and blogs that we read regularly and believe will deliver substantial value to our readers. The following is our top picks of articles on art in Bangkok that we think are worth reading:
- Buddhist Paintings Museum of Contemporary Art, Bangkok by Jotaro Zen
- Art for All: Ten Contemporary Art Galleries in Bangkok by Eleanor Cunningham
- Art Spaces in Bangkok by Heather
- Thai Art, In conversation: Steven Pettifor By Riccarda Mandrini
- Ponytail Journal on Bangkok’s Emerging Creative Community & Where They Hang Out By Jenny Nguyen-Barron
After some serious immersion in Bangkok’s art and culture, you might also want to relax and watch a movie in Bangkok. In this case, check out our guide to the best places to watch a movie in the city: Cinema Bangkok – the best movie theater in Bangkok (2016).
Do you have an awesome link to a relevant well-written article that should be included here? If so, hit us up on Twitter by following and messaging us the link. Looking for the best budget stays in Bangkok? Check out our guide to Bangkok for further information.
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