Admission: 180 baht for the general public and 80 baht for students
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Bangkok) is a showcase of contemporary Thai art in a modern space with a café. It’s a must-do for any art-lover since its 18,000 square metre space houses the most comprehensive private collection of modern painting and sculpture in Thailand. MOCA’s striking, purpose-built five storeys contains over 800 pieces tracing the development of modern Thai fine art.
Thailand is renowned for its traditions and culture but there hasn’t been many galleries of international standard to showcase the growing number of world class Thai artists. Built in 2012, the Museum Of Contemporary Art in Bangkok now provides a space in which to display the best of Thai art for everyone to enjoy.
Some may think there are restrictions on freedom of expression in Thailand but MOCA is a place where Thai artists explore issues without restriction, resulting in some amazing and thought-provoking artwork and sculptures. Featuring artworks from the post WW2 era to the modern era, MOCA will inspire artists, art students and art lovers of all persuasions. MOCA features artworks that are challenging, confronting, beautiful, and funny.
MOCA is privately funded by Boonchai Bencharongkul, a Thai business tycoon whose passion for collecting art spans decades. On entry into the building you will immediately see a large inscription in Latin ‘Art is long and life is short.’ It is the philosophy that Professor Silpa Bhirasri (aka Corrado Feroci), an Italian sculptor known as the father of Thai contemporary art, lived by. Professor Bhirasri founded Silpakorn University (the kingdom’s leading art school), where many of the artists showcased at MOCA were trained.
Some of the artists and works on display include:
- Two entire rooms dedicated to two of Thailand’s most revered artists. Professor Emeritus Chalood Nimsamer who, by using the recurring image of his daughter, represents peace, warmth and gentleness in his work.
- The late Professor Paitun Muangsomboon (1922 – 1999) was a central figure in the progression of sculpture in Thailand and his work lives on here.
- The fourth floor is dedicated to great Thai artists. It includes dozens of works by the late Thawan Duchanee (1939 – 2014). His abstract paintings are instantly recognisable. His works include oil paintings and drawings, carved wood and weapons. On this floor, there are also dozens more works by eminent 20th century artists like Tawee Nandakwang and Angkarn Kalayanapongsa.
- Chalermchai Kosipipat depicts rural life and religious scenes through realism and surrealism.
- Some of Vasan Sittikhets’s more controversial and political pieces are also on display.
- A special wing on the fifth floor dedicated to European painters from the Victorian era.
- A collection of Vietnamese, Chinese, Italian and Japanese artwork.
Some collections housed at the museum are of particular interest, like the ‘Limited Edition’ collection, the ‘War’ collection, ‘The Life of Dreams’ collection and the ‘Landscapes of the Underworld’ collection. In addition to its superb permanent collection, MOCA plays host to an ever changing range of temporary exhibitions all year round. Collections such as ‘Fantasy Lansdcapes Returns’ and ‘Beautiful Pictures. Art on the Brink of Hypnosis’ offer extra insight into the world of modern Thai art.
You could speed through a visit to MOCA, but we recommend spending some more time to truly appreciate the wide range of art on offer, all displayed in a light filled, open and friendly environment. Always remember, all Your Thai Guide tours are delivered at your pace.
Top tips to remember on your visit to MOCA
- Visitors must check in all items larger than 20 x 30 x 10 cm. (W x H x D) at the entrance. This means all bags, backpacks, camera cases etc.
- Visitors are requested to dress and behave appropriately at all times.
- Flash photography and selfie sticks are prohibited.
- No food and drinks are allowed anywhere in the gallery besides the coffee shop.
- The coffee shop serves fair-trade and sustainable tea, hot chocolate and coffee but only has a limited range of prepacked sandwiches and snacks.
- Your tour guide will ensure you know everything you need to know in advance.
MOCA is open from 10 am to 6 pm, Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Monday). Entry to MOCA costs 180 baht for the general public and 80 baht for students. Admission is free for visitors over the age of 60 or under 15. MOCA is situated at 499 Kamphaeng Phet 6 Rd, Chatuchak, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon.
Worthy of the trip up to North Bangkok, MOCA is part of a vibrant and growing modern art community in Thailand. Other top modern art galleries in Bangkok you may like to visit include the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, or the H Gallery. For a more historical taste of Thai art you might like to consider visiting the Bangkok National Museum.
Other Bangkok attractions nearby include The Princess Srinakarin Park, the Children’s Discovery Museum and the Chatuchak Weekend Market.