When people think of art in Thailand, they tend to think of the country’s rich heritage of Buddhist statuary, temples, and paintings. While these masterpieces will always remain central aspects in Thai identity, there’s also a great deal of contemporary art coming out of the Southeast Asian nation. Over the past few decades, Bangkok has become a haven for dynamic new artists, and it features some of Asia’s hottest art galleries. Below, we’ll take a closer look at just a few of the Thai capital’s best art galleries for both traditional and contemporary art.
1. Ratchadamnoen Contemporary Art Center
Located on 84 Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue near the Democracy Monument, the Ratchadamnoen Contemporary Art Center (RCAC84) is a four-story art studio dedicated to showcasing the works of living Thai artists. In total, there are seven exhibition areas in RCAC84 with numerous multi-media installations. Can’t make it to this studio in person? No worries! Anyone with access to the Internet can go on a virtual tour of RCAC84 or watch numerous live streaming events throughout the year. RCAC84 is free to the public and is open between 10AM and 7PM Tuesdays through Sundays.
2. Thailand Creative and Design Center
Created as a government agency, the Thailand Creative and Design Center (TCDC) is an ultra-modern building designed to encourage Thailand’s brightest minds to “think outside the box.” The TCDC is located very close to the Grand Postal Building and features numerous rotating exhibitions inside its two major libraries and co-working spaces. There’s always something exciting going on at the TCDC, so be sure to check its schedule on this official website: https://web.tcdc.or.th. The best way to get to the TCDC on the BTS is to get off of Exit 3 on the Silom Line and walk for about 15 minutes on Charoenkrung Road.
3. Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) is situated at 939 Rama 1 Road near MBK and Siam Square. This huge nine-floor art space hosts numerous works by contemporary artists on a rotating basis. After you’re tired of staring at art all day, the BACC also has a few specialty stores, and art library, cafés, and a film studio where you can relax. To see what special events are planned at the BACC, be sure to visit their website at http://en.bacc.or.th/.
4. Neilson Hays Library
Although it’s not as grandiose as some other galleries on this list, the Neilson Hays Library is an architectural gem in the Thai capital. Situated at 195 Surawong Road near BTS Chong Nonsi, this library includes two major gallery spaces: the Rotunda Gallery and the Garden Café Gallery. In addition to paintings, Neilson Hays Library features some incredible ceramic works and houses thousands of rare books. Interestingly, British and Americans living in Thailand founded this library in the 1920s to help increase literacy in the city. In 1986, this building was given the designation for a historic status mainly due to its astonishing Italian-inspired architecture.
5. Adler Subhashok Gallery
Anyone interested in checking out funky art from around the world should definitely take a stroll to the Adler Subhashok Gallery, which is a short walk from the Asok BTS station. Although this gallery focuses on Thai artists, it also features many famous international names due to its connections with Paris’s Adler Gallery. Many of Thailand’s most interesting artists attempt to show off their talents to the world in this gallery’s large studio spaces. In addition to contemporary art, the Adler Subhashok Gallery also has a permanent collection of Buddhist statuary on its third floor.
6. The Ferry Gallery
The Ferry Gallery definitely wins the award for the most unique of all the galleries on this list. Just like the name suggests, this is a contemporary art gallery on a ferryboat. This public art gallery, which was founded in 2014, sails out on the Chao Phraya River with different exhibits every week. The most important point in the Ferry Gallery’s mission statement is to create a space where the public can engage with the latest and greatest in the contemporary art scene. To find out more about what exhibits are happening on this boat, check out the Ferry Gallery’s website on www.theferrygallery.com.
7. The Jim Thompson House and Art Center
Last on our list of galleries in Bangkok is the famed Jim Thompson House and Art Center at Kasem San Soi 2 near BTS National Stadium. Named after a US CIA agent who used to live here, the Jim Thompson House is actually composed of six houses built using authentic Thai architectural models. (For those who didn’t know, Jim Thompson was a major figure in the revitalization of the Thai silk industry post-WWII). Throughout these houses, guests are treated to a huge array of ancient artifacts from Thailand including statues, paintings, and, of course, textiles. The Jim Thompson House is open between 9AM and 6 PM on the weekends.