Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
This 18,000-sq-meter, five-story building in the North of Bangkok is Thailand’s biggest private museum.
The concept: The Chairman and MD of telecommunications giant DTAC, Boonchai Bencharongkul, just blew B600 million on a 18,000-sq-meter, five-story building on Viphavadhi Rangsit Rd. It is Thailand’s biggest private museum and Thailand’s first significant permanent modern art collection open to the public. The works are nearly all post 1970s, and mostly post 1990s even, befitting the museum’s name. But local tastes and trends in Thai art mean you can expect a collection with few conceptual pieces. Instead, expect plenty of realism and surrealism depicting rural life, religious Buddhist scenes (Chalermchai Kositpipat) or mythological motifs from the Ramayana (Thawan Duchanee). But a few more political and controversial pieces have made their way into the collection, too (Vasan Sittikhet).
The décor: This blocky gray building is lightly indented with a floral motif crawling up its façade. Apart from that, it’s a big box with plenty of rooms that let the art do the talking.
At present: The first floor consists of three main rooms. The temporary exhibition room is currently showing sculptures and paintings by the late Professor Silp Peerasri (considered a founding father of modern Thai art), courtesy of The Fine Arts Department, which will be shown through the end of October.
Ongoing: Still on the first floor, two permanent exhibition rooms show sculptures from the 1986 National Artist in Sculpture Paitun Muangsomboon and paintings from Chalood Nimsamer. The second floor focuses on contemporary paintings, mostly religious or rural scenes, while the third floor’s subject matter is more sexual, controversial or political. The fourth floor sees four rooms dedicated to Thawan Duchanee, Thailand’s most renowned (and most expensive) painter. The highlight of this floor is the egg-shaped doorway that leads you to three paintings portraying heaven, earth and hell. The top floor sees a departure from Thailand and modernity, including a rare collection of Romantic paintings from Victorian England.
In the future: Unlike other exhibitions which usually focus on young emerging artists, the temporary exhibition space on the first floor will be dedicated to rare collections from Thai masters, either from the archives of Boonchai’s personal collection or on loan from other institutions. Vasachol Quadri
B180. Students B80. Free admission for children under 15.