The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) is a great place to waste time, escape the heat, catch up on the contemporary art scene, read, eat some creative ice cream or a first date. KohSpot loves the place and for an area of Bangkok that is clogged with shopping and not much else, this venue is a welcome respite.
The center is a series of exhibits, some more permanent than others, in a huge structure that looks to be an homage to the Guggenheim. Located throughout various levels of the building are assorted shops, cafes, galleries, design studios and academies. Almost two years after opening, the center is finally starting to fill with tenants and live up to its potential.
As with every art museum, there are hits and misses. But the BACC is free and attempts to be inclusive, the reason it was initiated. Currently on display is a series of fashion photography from France as part of La Fete’s celebration of everything French. You can see Karl Lagerfeld poncing around outside a hermitage in his one outfit that isn’t a weird take on his fetishization of AC/DC’s Angus Young. There are also film festivals there occasionally, a state-of-the-art live theatre stage which hosts quite a few modern dance exhibitions throughout the year.
The shops are quirky and inventive, for the most part. You can climb out of a box silently at KohNaKhao Mime Academy, which actually hosted a Soulmate Dinner Nightmare recently. You can buy a vintage poster of The Adventures of Iron Pussy, one of famed director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s early efforts before he won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, at the film memorabilia shop Tea. And of course the delightful IceDEA, the innovative ice cream design store.
As you might imagine, just getting state support for a contemporary art center in Bangkok that was not a “serious” collection of government pieces was a long, frustrating effort. The Thai Artists’ Network began agitating for a place to call their own almost two decades ago, and plans to build a center came together in 1995. But delays and accusations of corruption stalled its development, and in 2001 private investors interested in yet another commercial retail space expressed their desire to take over. Remarkably, cooler heads prevailed and by 2004 progress on BACC had resumed.
Given the fight put forth to make the BACC a reality, its definitely a show of support and a sign of respect to enjoy an afternoon and bathe in an artistic afternoon.
Bangkok Art and Culture Center
Location: Bangkok Art and Culture Center, corner of Rama I and Phayathai Roads, right across from MBK.
Mass transit: Connected to BTS National Stadium
Hours: 10 am-9 pm Tuesday to Sunday