Bangkok is a city full of artistry – from the grand and ornate temples that line the banks of the Chao Phraya River, to the wild graffiti murals that add a dash of colour to the mean streets of Bang Rak (and beyond). In-between these two extremes there’s a thriving gallery scene in the city, and art shows featuring both Thai and international talents are constantly coming and going, which is a positive boon for both serious collectors and casual onlookers who just like to see what’s new and inspiring.
There are literally dozens and dozens of worthwhile galleries in downtown Bangkok alone, which makes picking the best of the bunch something of a tough call. However, this list of Bangkok’s 10 best gallery spots below consistently offer exhibitions that never fail to be both engaging and intriguing.
Despite its size – it contains 9 floors of exhibition space – there is no permanent collection at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC). However, it is without a doubt at the forefront of the contemporary art scene in Bangkok. Rotating exhibits and installations, showcasing the works of Thai and international artists, are at the core of what the BACC offers the general public for free six days a week, but music, theatre, film, design and cultural/educational events also take place in its various screening rooms and performance spaces. The corkscrew design of the building’s interior is reminiscent of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and alongside the public art there are cafes, commercial art galleries, bookshops, craft shops, and an art library, making it an engaging place to spend a leisurely afternoon or early evening. Open daily (except Monday) from 10am till 9pm.
Although it’s not a singular gallery, in many ways River City Bangkok can be regarded as a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in seeing a broad range of contemporary art – from the decorative and commercial, to the cutting edge and futuristic. On the second floor, prestigious galleries such as RCB Galleria and Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok have rotating exhibitions by Thai and international artists, while down the hall the Museum of Digital Art (MODA) has been delighting Bangkok art lovers with a series of multimedia art displays that combine music, CGI and, of course, beautiful artworks by European masters. Elsewhere in the building you’ll find everything from Khmer antiques to pop art souvenirs. Open daily from 10am till 10pm.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) was purpose-built to showcase and exhibit the exceptional works of art collected over the past three decades by Boonchai Bencharongkul, whose passion for art runs deep. The permanent collection of modern paintings and sculptures highlights various artists who hail from many different parts of Thailand, including Thawan Duchanee, Lumpu Kansanoh, Denpong Wongsaroj, and Bundit Padungvichian. However, the museum now also displays temporary exhibits and they are definitely worth seeking out. MOCA is a little out of the way – you pass by it on the way to Don Mueang airport – but a soon-to-be-opened SRT Red Line stop almost directly in front of the building will no doubt bring a huge increase in visitors. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm.
Founded by Subhashok Angsuvarnsiri, an avid supporter of Thai contemporary art and a collector for many decades, S.A.C. Subhashok The Arts Centre is a two-storey gallery space in the Phrom Phong district that actively promotes young and emerging Thai and Southeast Asian contemporary artists – often hosting two shows simultaneously in their ample interior. Head curator Linjie Zhou has a knack for finding the most extraordinary talents, who collectively represent a vast range of styles, disciplines and techniques. Open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 6pm, and weekends from 11am to 6pm.
Located on the ground floor of the Baan Somthavil luxury condominium project – just off Rajadamri Road – this ultra-contemporary gallery is known for its cutting-edge exhibits. Founder Sutima Sucharitakul opened the space after returning to Bangkok from her stints in London and New York (working at The Met and MOMA, respectively). The gallery itself is a super-sleek, minimalist cement cube, perfectly suited for exhibiting the boundary pushing art and video installations of both Thai and international artists. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 7pm. www.novacontemporary.com
Open to all forms of artistic creation, Bangkok CityCity Gallery is a hybrid concept, landing somewhere between a commercial gallery and an experimental project space. Founded in 2015 by Akapol Op Sudasna and Supamas Phahulo, the gallery is located on Sathorn Soi 1 in a modern, and very minimalist rectangular white building. The shows are most often challenging and unconventional, and run the gamut from paintings and sculptures to video installations and photography, but don’t be surprised to find a concert or a book fair happening here at any given time. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 1pm till 7pm.
Located on Tonson Road, near Chidlom BTS station, 100 Tonson Gallery is dedicated to contemporary art and artists. The pristine minimalist space was conceived by the noted French designer Christian Liaigre, and often the exhibitions held within run for several months at a time. The gallery has also brought Thai and regional artists to international audiences via its participation in various art fairs, in cities such as Basel (Volta, ArtBasel), Hong Kong (ArtHK, ArtBasel HK), Dubai (Art Dubai), Singapore (Singapore Artfair, Showcase Singapore, ArtStage), Shanghai (SHContemporary), and Beijing (CIGE). Open Thursday to Sunday from 11am till 7 pm.
Since its launch in 2006, the Ardel Gallery of Modern Art has constantly hosted art exhibitions and art-related activities based on the intention of Prof. Thavorn Ko-udomvit to introduce and connect art to a wider community by focusing on a diversity of ideas and different presentation styles. Technically there are two galleries to consider here; the main one – the Ardel Gallery of Modern Art – on Boromrachachonnanee Road in Thonburi (open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30am to 7pm), and Ardel’s Third Place Gallery on Thong Lor Soi 10 (open Monday to Saturday from 10am till 6pm). Regardless of location, both spaces host provocative and worthwhile exhibitions.
The word “lalanta” in Thai means “beauty in abundance”, a term that aptly sums up La Lanta Fine Art gallery. Since its inception in 2006 it has become one of the most successful galleries in Thailand, with strong presence in international art fairs in major cities including Singapore, Hong Kong, London, New York, Miami, and Basel. In addition to showcasing contemporary artworks by internationally acclaimed artists, La Lanta also exhibits work by up-and-coming local artists. Located on Narathiwas Rajanakarin Soi 22, the gallery is open from
Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm and shares neighbourhood space with underground galleries such as Tentacles, Cartel, and Artist+Run.
Unlike other galleries in the city, Sathorn 11 Art Space changes its exhibitions about every two weeks, meaning you’ll seldom see the same thing twice if you’re a regular visitor. Located at the far end of Sathorn Soi 11, the art space used to share the building with Gallery Pizza, until the pizza operation got so big it needed its own headquarters. These days the intimate gallery space also doubles as a swanky little bar, restaurant, and lounge, making it quite a cool mingling spot as well. The displays are curated by owner Mike Boon, and feature a broad mix of Thai artists and international talents. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 5pm till midnight.