This is perhaps a strange place for an artistic hub.
THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, BANGKOK:
MOCA is a private art collection of one of Thailand’s wealthiest men, Mr. Boonchai Bencharongkul – local partner of the DTAC telecoms joint venture with Telenor. Mr. Boonchai spent $30 million on the land and construction of the building you should be able to see from the train, and tens of millions more on the art.
Opened in 2012, MOCA is a giant white cube with six stories filled with almost a thousand works of art – one of the biggest contemporary art museums in Asia. The building searches for an aesthetic of being carved from a single piece of granite. The open carvings on its facade resembles plumes of jasmine cascading down the wall, and is repeated on the inside to allow natural light to trace patterns on the floor of the inner atrium.
Thai has a long and rich artistic history rooted largely in Buddhist artistic traditions. Contemporary Thai art often makes reference to its traditional motifs and practices, but is diverse and less censored compared with other countries in the region. If you’re into contemporary art, MOCA is one of quite a few excellent spaces in Bangkok to see more. You might want to check out the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre, H-Gallery, Thailand Creative Design Centre, The Queen’s Gallery, or the Art Centre at Chulalongkorn University.
European artistic norms were an important driver of contemporary Thai art. Particularly, the Italian-born sculptor, Corrado Feroci had a huge impact. He was responsible for two famous works built close to Thailand’s rail network – “Victory Monument”, and the Phutthamonthon buddha – the world’s largest freestanding buddha, which we pass on the Southern and Western lines. He also founded Silpakorn University of Fine Arts.
Also near here is the country’s largest university – with 67,000 students – started as a project of the ever-entrepreneurial King Chulalongkorn to develop a silk industry in Thailand. He invited a renouned Japanese silk expert from the University of Tokyo to instruct locals in sericulture – the study of silk – and this project eventually turned into an official School of Sericulture.