For artists, serious collectors and art aficionados alike, Bangkok has earned a reputation as a hub for creativity. Here’s our roundup of the city’s most respected galleries and art spaces that are well worth a visit. From permanent exhibitions to showcasing the work of both established and upcoming young artists, you’ll be covered with endless inspiration and awe.
100 Tonson Gallery
Named after its street address, 100 Tonson Gallery occupies a pristine minimalist space conceived by noted French designer, Christian Liaigre. Although simple in style, the art behind its huge glass door always shines through and captivates the eyes.
The gallery is dedicated to contemporary art, working across international boundaries and constantly participating in global art fairs – bringing the buzz of the art world to Bangkok.
Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC)
Contrary to the popular belief that galleries are peaceful and solemn spaces for mulling over art, the Bangkok Art and Culture Center is perky and bustling in the best of ways – a true haven for contemporary art lovers.
Situated in one of Bangkok’s busiest commercial districts, the architecture itself, with its corkscrew ramp that resembles New York’s Guggenheim Museum, is a must-see landmark in the city’s art landscape.
You’ll find H Gallery tucked away inside a stunningly restored 125-year-old Anglo-Thai mansion in Silom. The historical monument alone is worth a visit in its own right.
Established by H. Ernest Lee, a renowned Asian art collector, to represent emerging contemporary Southeast Asian artists, the two-storey gallery is often regarded as a launching pad for Thai artists with international ambitions.
Jim Thompson House Art Center (JTAC)
The Jim Thompson Art Center is situated in a picturesque compound that is also home to the famous Jim Thompson House Museum – definitely one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bangkok, sporting vibrant jungle foliage in the heart of the city.
While JTAC serves as an arena for Bangkok’s local and international arts and cultural communities, it has a growing reputation as a space to mingle, interact and exchange dialogues about art.
La Lanta Fine Art
With its prime location on Sukhumvit 31, La Lanta Fine Art is integrated into a cluster of up-market shopping malls and restaurants.
The gallery offers contemporary paintings, sculptures, photography and fine art prints by both established and up-and-coming local and international artists. Here, art flourishes and lives up to the name La Lanta – a pun on the Thai word “beauty in abundance.”
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is Thailand’s biggest private museum and the only one in the country to house predominantly modern art collections.
It was founded by Boonchai Bencharongkul in honour of Professor Silpa Bhirasri, a Florentine sculptor who is widely considered the father of modern art in Thailand. Constructed with an extravagant budget of 600 million Baht, the five-storey edifice is awe-inspiring. Its formidable appearance is beautifully softened by the indented floral motif crawling up its façade, jazzed up by a huge cotemporary-designed lotus floating in a pond at the entrance.
Numthong Gallery sits just behind a cluster of cafés and bars of the increasingly fashionable Ari neighbourhood. Its plain white brick structure doesn’t pack much visual punch from the outside, but it is imbued with an unusual warmth and friendliness that exhibition halls don’t normally evoke on the inside.
Numthong owes its flourishing success to simple word of mouth. Since its establishment in 1997, its reputation grew among artists and art enthusiasts for its intriguing selection of contemporary works by both emerging and internationally-acclaimed figures.
Subhashok the Arts Centre (S.A.C.)
A curious building that resembles a huge broken stone in design, the signature look of Subhashok the Arts Centre, confronts you imposingly as you turn into the sub-soi off the elegant Sukhumvit 31. As it turns out, the architecture is as interesting as the works it showcases in the exhibition hall and gallery – a separate building that is not only for sales purposes, but also to showcase past exhibitions.
Visiting here gives you an instant look at what is going on in the Thai contemporary art scene. You’ll see the best in photo-realistic paintings, abstract art, photography, prints and various other mediums.
If you are seriously into Asian paintings, or might want to purchase one, then you can’t miss Thavibu Art. Tucked away on the 4th floor in the Jewellery Trade Center Building, the gallery is a sanctuary for any art connoisseur.
Since its establishment in 1998, Thavibu has been a key player in promoting the growth of contemporary art practices in Thailand, Vietnam and Burma, and has made great strides to showcase art that best reflects the cultural identities of each nation.
YenakArt Villa is a large 1940s Bauhaus art gallery, a one-of-a-kind hideaway tucked away in a sub-soi in the quiet and elegant Yen Akat community. Though the villa would be tricky for a first-timer to spot, it’s definitely a real find.
The skin-and-bones architecture that emphasises its minimal framework and free-flowing open space looks nothing short of spectacular when its façade is lit. That lightning, by the way, was created by one of the most successful contemporary light artists in the world, Matteo Messervy – and we suggest you visit in the evening to get the full effect.