Vasıf Kortun. Photo: CCS Bard.

Vasıf Kortun to Helm the Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum

Curator, writer, and educator Vasıf Kortun has been named the director of the Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum (IHRM), ArtAsiaPacific reports. While the institution is currently undergoing a renovation—it is set to officially open in 2020—participating artists and visitors to the sixteenth Istanbul Biennial will get an unexpected preview of the venue this week. (Organizers of the exhibition were forced to find a new main location for the biennial after toxic asbestos was discovered at its original site, the Istanbul Shipyards.)

The Emre Arolat–designed building is being constructed along the Bosphorus, a natural strait, and is near the former Istanbul Modern and Antrepo warehouses. Kortun was serving as a consultant on the project before he was hired to lead the institution, which will house a collection of artworks dating back to the late-Ottaman era, by Handan İnci, the rector of the state-run Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, which will oversee the museum’s operations. 

Kortun was previously the director of research and programs at SALT Istanbul from 2011 to 2017. He was also the founding director of Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center in Istanbul from 2001 to 2010, chief curator and director of the third International Istanbul Biennial in 1992, and director of the Museum of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College from 1994 to 1997. Kortun also cocurated the ninth Istanbul Biennial, with Charles Esche, in 2005 and curated the United Arab Emirates pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2011.