Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art :

The First Modern Art Gallery in Thailand

Words by Narongsak Nilkhet


“ART-THAI-TIME” Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art Revisited : 100th Anniversary of the Arrival in Siam of Corrado Feroci (Silpa Bhirasri)
Replica Model of Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art Building

Almost 50 years ago, Thailand lacked the promotion of art and dedicated art exhibition venues, known as "art galleries". However, the Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art was established through the efforts of art enthusiasts and art lovers, appearing on a one-rai (approximately 0.4 acres) plot of land in Soi Atthakan Prasit Road (Sathorn 1 Alley).

The building was designed in a modern style, in line with contemporary trends, and its interior was divided into various spaces to accommodate diverse art forms, including art exhibitions, theatre performances, music concerts, film screenings, lectures and experimental projects. The museum opened to the public for the first time on May 14th, 1974, and quickly became a recognized and inclusive art institution of that time.‍

Big Fish Swallowing Small Fish (1969) by Praphan Srisouta

During its operation, Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art faced many social and political changes in Thailand, including the events of the October 6th Massacre, the Prime Minister's Office Directive No. 66/2523, and the policy of transforming battlefields into commercial areas. Many artworks addressed social commentaries and reflected the artists' political stance. The museum became an important platform for artists to express themselves and engage in creative thinking freely. Additionally, Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art played a significant role in international relations, facilitating cultural exchange and promoting understanding of diverse cultures. It was considered an important, essential public space.‍

Metamorphosis of Mona (1985) by Apinan Poshyananda

Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art closed its doors in 1988 after 14 years of operation, having presented more than 200 consecutive art exhibitions and activities, ranging from traditional to experimental art forms. It provided many opportunities for internationally renowned artists as well as emerging artists in Thailand to showcase their works and creative ideas.

Bodsontana Khong 3 Ai Hua Liam (1985) by VasanSitthiket

The upcoming exhibition “ART-THAI-TIME” Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art Revisited : 100th Anniversary of the Arrival in Siam of Corrado Feroci (Silpa Bhirasri) showcases the origins of the art gallery in Thailand and presents the artistic landscape of that time, which aimed to connect and push forward all aspects of contemporary art and cultural development. It also highlights the relationship between society, politics, and Thai art through historical data, archival materials, and past exhibitions held at Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art. This exhibition is considered to be a significant artistic event in Thailand’s art history, deserving study and dissemination to the general public.‍

VDO Performance viewing Yak-Hai-Cheevit-Nee-Mai-Mee-Ter by Theatre 28

The exhibition is held from May 9th to August 20th, 2566 (2023) on the 8th floor of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, organised by the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in collaboration with Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art Foundation and Silpakorn University, curated by Chatvichai Promadhattavedi, Deputy Chairperson of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre Foundation, and former Director of Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art. 

Silpa Bhirasri (1961) by Misiem Yipintsoi

The exhibition is organised in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Professor Silpa Bhirasri (September 15th, 1892 - May 14th, 1962), in Thailand in 1923 He is considered a pioneer of modern art in Thailand, and is recognized as the founder of the first public art gallery in Thailand, the Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art, which serves as an institution to promote social development, contemporary art, and artistic learning exchange. This exhibition aims to create understanding and awareness of the historical significance of Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art's development through archival materials and artworks. It is considered an important milestone in Thai art history.‍

English Editor: Paul McKay


Creating Innovative Textile Substitutes from the Use of ‘Soil’

Text by Dr. Khajornsak Nakpan

The delightful taste of autumn leaves beautifully captured at MAD BEEF

Bangkok Art City 

Bangkok with Elle


Photo Essay BAC x RPST