State of the art: Where to buy contemporary art within Bangkok’s vibrant scene

Bangkok Art & Culture Centre is the largest gallery in Bangkok. Source: tOl270D/Shutterstock

BANGKOK has a burgeoning art scene and though smaller compared to cities like New York, Paris or London, it is no less impressive. The first commercial galleries opened their doors in the 1990s, and since then, many others have followed suit.

Contemporary art, in particular, is flourishing, with venues across the city showcasing the talents of both local Thai and international artists within the movement.

But like the work they display, galleries here can be quite unconventional – there’s the converted mansion (The YenakArt Villa), shophouses (MoST Gallery) and even restaurants (WTF Gallery).

So, to ensure you get the most from a trip and avoid missing anything, pick up a copy of the Bangkok Art Map. It details all the current and upcoming exhibitions in the area.

If you want to grow your own collection, here are a few places to buy art in the city.

The Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Pathumwan

The huge nine-story Bangkok Art and Culture Center is the hub for contemporary art and design in the city. The Main Gallery currently features “Crossing The Dateline”, a collection of works by nine Thai and US artists, curated by Pitiwat Somthai.

Elsewhere in the center, it’s possible to buy pieces from design-led stores and independent exhibitions held in the People’s Gallery. The exhibits change regularly and can include anything from paintings, photographs or graphic design to installations and sculptures.

The Kathmandu Photo Gallery, Bang Rak

Owned by renowned Thai photo-artist Manit Sriwanichpoom, the Kathmandu Photo Gallery is exclusively devoted to photographic art.

The homely pre-war shophouse provides an ideal backdrop for exhibitions, intended to make you feel welcome and encourage you to browse.

The gallery’s upper level is dedicated to temporary collections. At present, they include thought-provoking images from Didier Mayhew’s “In Nowhere Land”. Downstairs, Sriwanichpoom’s own work lines the walls from floor to ceiling.

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O.P Place, Bang Rak

O.P Place now occupies what was once the Center for Trade. The grand white building is home to 50 small boutiques and The Ashwood Gallery.

Here, high-quality paintings and artisan crafted items can be found alongside stores selling a range of other goods.

If you’re looking for Thai art and antiques, you should explore the gallery on the top floor of the complex. It is a treasure trove of carefully curated pieces that reflect the region’s rich cultural heritage.

The Chatuchak Weekend Market, Chatuchak

The Chatuchak Weekend Market is the largest of its kind in the world and is widely regarded as the best place in Bangkok to buy or commission (affordable) artwork.

Owing to the market’s colossal scale, its 15,000 booths have been divided among 27 sections. You want to head for zone seven where there is an eclectic mix of small galleries and stalls run by local artists and designers.

As artistic style and form vary, it’s possible to find most things from traditional Thai paintings to contemporary metal sculptures and abstract canvas art.

SEE ALSO: A guide to contemporary art in Hong Kong