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New York, NY – A much-anticipated exhibition of work by contemporary Turkish artists will be on view at the Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller (LTMH) Gallery from June 2 through September 1, 2010. Istanbul Cool! What’s Happening in Contemporary Turkish Art Now will offer the work of 27 artists living in Turkey, as well as the U.S. and Europe, and will include painting, sculpture, works on paper, and installation. The exhibition presents the work of both well-known and established Turkish artists, and emerging artists whose work will be on view for the first time in the U.S.


An illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition, and will include essays by Maryam Homayoun Eisler, a noted art collector; Emin Mahir, an art historian and Director, Contemporary Istanbul; and Sefa Saglam, Director of Exhibitions, The Neue Galerie, New York.


Artists represented in the exhibition will include: Serkan Adin, Haluk Akakçe, Vahap Avsar, Kezban Arca Batibeki, Ramazan Bayrakoğlu, Gökçe Çelikel, Taner Ceylan, Ahmet Elhan, Extramücadele, Mustafa Horasan, Peter Hristoff, Gözde İlkin, Burhan Kum, Bahar Oganer, Soner Ön, İrfan Önürmen, Arif Özakça, Sefa Saglam, Yaşam Şaşmazer, Gülay Semercioğlu, Canan Şenol, Erinç Seymen, Hale Tenger, Nazif Topçuoğlu, Elif Uras, Ebru Uygun, Halil Vurucuoğlu, and Ekrem Yalçındağ.


As Emin Mahir Balcioglu, Director, Contemporary Istanbul, notes in the catalogue essay, “Contemporary art from Turkey is in the limelight (at last); its debut has been delayed for several reasons, but today, supported by a vibrant emerging economy and an ever increasing group of collectors, it has begun to thrive. This is all very new and remarkable; the fact that Turkish artists are beginning to showcase their works not only in their own country but abroad, and as the days go by are more and more acknowledged, proves that there are considerable transformations at hand.”


Exhibition Highlights

Taner Ceylan, who was born in Germany, and currently lives and works in Istanbul, has been called one of the most impressive hyperrealist artists in Turkey and one of the foremost artists on the contemporary Istanbul circuit. The artist’s series of works on paper, Ephemere, 1994, a grid of images including self-portraits, illustrates his technical mastery.


Several vibrant canvases by Haluk Akakçe, who was born in Turkey, and lives and works in New York City, will be a highlight of Istanbul Cool! “Shapes grow organically,” the artist says of his paintings “creating a poetic world of their own.” A new book on Turkish art, “Unleashed: Contemporary Art from Turkey,” notes that the artist has “in relatively little time forged a considerable reputation…on the international art scene.” In New York, his work has been seen at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and The New Museum.


Ramazan Bayrakoğlu, who lives and works in Turkey, is creating new work specifically for Istanbul Cool! Most recently, his collages, which often combine hundreds of pieces of shiny satin fabric to create the illusion of a painting or photograph, were shown in New York at the Armory Show 2010 and at Art Dubai 2010 as well as in the 10th International Istanbul Biennial in 2007.


Peter Hristoff, an artist living and working in New York City who was born in Istanbul, is inspired by prayer rugs. “They embody a physical object turning into a holy place….a piece of fabric, becomes loaded with a different kind of meaning the moment that someone uses it,” Hristoff explains. “I try to create images that are evocative, poignant (and sometimes funny) about my birthplace,” he adds. A number of his works will be included in the exhibition, including two unique wool rugs hand woven in Usak, Turkey.


Istanbul Cool! What’s Happening in Contemporary Turkish Art Now is dedicated in loving memory of Ali Can Ertug.


Special Events

A book launch for “Unleashed: Contemporary Art from Turkey" will take place during the opening of the exhibition on Wednesday, June 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. The book's editors, Maryam Homayoun Eisler and Hossein Amirsadeghi, will be present to sign copies.


A symposium entitled Istanbul Cool! What’s Happening in Contemporary Turkish Art Now will be held on Thursday, June 3, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Sotheby's, 1334 York Avenue at 72nd Street, in New York City. The panelists will include curators, art historians, collectors, and artists. More information will be forthcoming.