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Press release

The Met Highlights Turkish Art in the Collection Through Display of Modern and Contemporary Artworks that Engage with the Ottoman Cultural Legacy

The Met hosted a gala celebrating Turkish art in the Museum’s collection that raised over $2 million to support Turkish art initiatives within the Museum’s Department of Islamic Art.

Now on view through June 30, 2024, the installation Dialogues: Modern Artists and the Ottoman Past highlights eight modern and contemporary artworks that engage with the Islamic and Ottoman cultural legacy. On display throughout The Met’s Department of Islamic Art’s Koç Family Galleries for the arts of the Ottoman world (Galleries 459, and 460), the featured artists include Erol Akyavaş (Turkish, 1932–1999), Aliye Berger (Turkish, 1903–1974), Burçak Bingöl (Turkish, born 1976), Burhan Doğançay (American, born Turkey, 1929–2013), Peter Hristoff (Bulgarian, born Turkey 1958), Gülay Semercioğlu (Turkish, born 1968), Elif Uras (Turkish, born 1972), and Mohamed Zakariya (American, born, 1942).  

On October 25, 2023, The Met hosted a gala celebrating Turkish art in the Museum’s collection, as modern-day Turkey marks its one-hundredth year. The gala honored the generosity of donors Onur and Demet Kumral. It was chaired by Zeynep Oğuz Bilimer with leadership gala committee members David and Catherine Cuthell, Ayşe Yüksel Mahfoud, Hatice Üsküp Morrissey, Begüm Bengü Taft, and Seran Müdüroğlu Trehan.  Proceeds of over $2 million from the event went to the Museum’s Turkish Centennial Fund. The fund was established in 2019 to underwrite Turkish art initiatives within the Museum’s Department of Islamic Art, including acquisitions, exhibitions, research, a lecture series, and more. 
Dialogues: Modern Artists and the Ottoman Past
The works on view in The Met’s focused installation reflect the creative approaches of three generations of artists from Turkey and elsewhere. Some of the artists take pride in their links to historical traditions; others reject that legacy but remain subconsciously rooted in Ottoman culture. Their work relates to the arts of calligraphy and ornament along with the traditions of manuscript painting, textile weaving, and ceramic production. By repurposing these hallmarks of Ottoman art, artists of the 20th and 21st centuries confront social and other aspects in modern Turkey. Each of the featured artists has developed a distinct artistic identity by employing, renewing, or diverging from the styles, modes, and creative traditions of the Ottoman past—while also incorporating the methods and principles of 20th- and 21st-century Turkish, European, and American art. The dialogues between these modern and historical works bridge gaps of time and space to join a greater, global dialogue of modernity.

It is organized by Deniz Beyazit, Curator in the Department of Islamic Art.


November 2, 2023


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