J.-F. Polo : The Istanbul Modern Art Museum: An Urban Regeneration Project?

Jean-François Polo, "The Istanbul Modern Art Museum: An Urban Regeneration Project?", European Planning Studies (2013), Published online: 25 Aug 2013.
En ligne : http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2013.819074

In the 2000s, contemporary art institutions have flourished in Istanbul. New museums (mostly private) and art galleries have been created; biennials and fairs of contemporary art have attracted a growing number of visitors. To what extent could this fostering of culture be linked with the "Bilbao effect"? To what extent are the promoters of these cultural investments betting on economic development and urban regeneration through these projects? Focusing on the Istanbul Modern Art Museum (IM), this article analyses the process of its creation and its potential impact on its environment. It argues that the development of culture investments in modern arts in Turkey is mainly due to the private initiatives of large industrial groups and the wealthiest families, most of the time with political support. More than the expected economic impact of cultural investments, the main reason for these public–private collaborations is the symbolic dimension that contemporary art provides to a country which strives to be perceived as modern, developed and European. From the IM to Istanbul European Capital of Culture 2010, cultural investments are a means of strengthening an international image in the context of the "membership" negotiations between "Turkey and the European Union".