Istanbul Modern seeks to integrate the experience of Turkey's artistic past, the dynamism of its present, and the cultivation of its cultural future. Istanbul Modern, the first private museum devoted to modern and contemporary art in Turkey, was founded in 2004 in order to promote wider enjoyment and understanding of modern art among the public. Located beside the Bosporus, the strait separating Europe from Asia, the museum brings together the Istanbul cityscape with the production of arts ranging from painting, sculpture, and photography to video and new media. The museum aims to collect, preserve, and exhibit modern and contemporary art and to provide a venue fostering the integration of the visual arts with the rich cultural spectrum of Turkey. Istanbul Modern's collections, exhibits, and educational programs aim to foster active engagement in and love for the arts among an audience of all ages and segments of society.Relying on the principles of inclusion and harmony, and supporting the development of knowledgeable visitors through its emphasis on communication and education, it takes on the function of a mirror for society. As it strengthens the creative exchange between the art of Turkey and the West, it presents the artistic and cultural experience of our country to the world.
When Istanbul Modern opened its doors to the public on December 11, 2004, at the former customs warehouse Antrepo no. 4, this actually marked the culmination of a 17-year project. Despite the delay, Istanbul Modern emerged a true "innovator," the first private museum devoted to modern and contemporary art founded in Turkey. In a country unaccustomed to museum visits, and where the already few existing museums displayed the inevitable shortcomings of publicly administered institutions; Istanbul Modern became the first museum to also function as a cultural and social platform.