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SALT Beyoğlu. Click above for more images.

Istanbul’s SALT Beyoğlu Reopens

SALT Beyoğlu in Istanbul reopened on April 17, more than two years after it shuttered because of “technical reasons.” After the venue halted programming in 2015 and eventually closed its doors in January 2016, rumors circulated that the contemporary arts space was facing pressure from the government over its programming. However, former director Vasif Kortun denied that this was the reason for the closure. According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, the prime minister’s office allegedly received an anonymous complaint that raised questions over whether the arts center had attained the proper permits from the city’s building authority to complete its renovation of the nineteenth-century building that it has called home since 2011.

While the vital exhibition space was closed, SALT continued to organize and present programming at its other locations in Istanbul and Ankara: SALT Galata and SALT Ulus, the latter of which has since closed its physical location. The organization also underwent a change of leadership: Kortun stepped down in January 2017, and Meriç Öner, SALT’s former associate director, was named the new head director of research and programs.

Upgrades to SALT Beyoğlu’s building on İstiklal Caddesi include a revamped forum, a work space, and an interior garden. Its bookstore, Robinson Crusoe, was also moved to the ground floor. A major survey of work by Aydan Murtezaoğlu and Bülent Şangar—prominent figures who helped shape Turkey’s emerging contemporary art scene during the 1990s—inaugurated the space. Titled “Continuity Error” and displayed across all four floors of the institution, the show will be on view until July 22.

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