I include the Pera Museum in my guide on the Istanbul creative industry because it is one of the most innovative cultural organizations in the city. The modern cinema downstairs runs excellent film festivals and lectures focusing on contemporary themes, and the temporary exhibitions are great examples of modern curatorial work. The collection mostly focuses on 19th century art from the viewpoint of Western diplomats, and showcases the artistic school of orientalism. There is also a great café and bookstore on the ground floor.
by walking 5 min.
Pera is such a classic old neighborhood of Istanbul. I went to this museum near the Italian Consulate about three years ago when there was an exhibition on Orientalist Art. Having read Said's famous book, I was curious to see all of the European paintings of camels, pyramids and women in veils that represented the western caricature of the "Orient."
went there to see a Freida exhibit was lovely
The museum is conveniently located just off of Taksim's Istiklal avenue. Each of the 4 floors has a different theme and atmosphere, providing surprises as you climb up the stairs (or go to the top with the elevator and work your way down).As of this writing, on the second floor there are permanent exhibitions about the history of coffee, next to a collection of special Turkish ceramic tiles. Another room houses weights and scales from the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, which sounds a bit boring but has fascinating historical and cultural knowledge written alongside to provide context. There's also an orientalist painting collection and a wall of photographs from early 1900s Istanbul.Pera doesn't disappoint when it comes to modern art either; past exhibitions include Greyson Perry and Alberto Giacometti and an upcoming exhibition looks at video art and pop music crossovers.