Turkey Rising


Turkey has endured the current global recession relatively well, partially because of its own banking crisis in 2001 that put safeguards in place. Two new galleries opening this year reflect the growth of the art market there and the interest in Turkish art internationally.

Opening in Istanbul on May 26 is Galeri Manâ, owned by Suzanne Egeran, a former ­­London-based art advisor and independent curator. The gallery will be located in a three-story, 6,500-square-foot renovated industrial space in the BeyoÄ?lu district, near the Istanbul Modern. In May a group show, “Nereden Nereye” (“From Where to Where”) kicks off the space. In September, solo shows of Nasan Tur and Lewis Baltz  will go on view, timed to coincide with the Istanbul Biennial [Sept. 17–Nov. 13].

Egeran’s background is appropriately transcontinental. She is half Turkish and spent part of her childhood in Istanbul, and studied art at Barnard College and NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. She has previously worked at White Cube (London), Lehmann Maupin (New York) and Max Hetzler (Berlin) galleries, as well as in the development departments of New York’s New Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.

Commenting on the appetite for international contemporary art in Istanbul, Egeran (pictured right) told Art in America that she got a great response when she included Tom Friedman and Martin Creed in “In the Between,” a parallel exhibition that coincided with the 2009 Istanbul Biennial. “They’d never before shown in Turkey,” she added. Egeran says that most of her gallery’s programming will be focused on international figures, such as Kutlug Ataman, Mel Bochner, Diana Al Hadid and Tamar Halpern, with emerging Turkish artists comprising about 30 percent of her roster. “Turkish art shouldn’t be shown as parallel,” she said. “It needs to be integrated with international art.”

Another new gallery is taking a similar approach, albeit by export. In New York, Chelsea 24 is scheduled to open this fall. It will prominently feature the work of Turkish artists. Launched by a group of Turkish art collectors, the business venture aims to promote artists from Turkey and other countries. The gallery will occupy a renovated space adjacent to the High Line on 24th Street.

The inaugural exhibition will be “Double Crescent,” curated by Prospect New Orleans biennial founder Dan Cameron (and A.i.A.‘s recent “Roving Eye” contributor). It will feature artists from New Orleans, aka the “Crescent City,” and Istanbul, symbolized by the crescent and star. Cameron told the Art Newspaper, “This exhibition examines the art of two ports channeling European culture, two exotic relics of the colonial past.” The artists include Hale Tenger, Taner Ceylan, Ayse Erkmen, Skylar Fein, Kourtney Keller, Regina Scull and Gülsün Karamustafa.

Cameron was recruited by his former New Museum colleague Sefa Saglam, who is director of exhibitions at the Neue Galerie in New York. She will remain at the museum and will consult with Chelsea 24’s director, yet to be hired, about gallery programming.