10 Must-See Contemporary Art Galleries In Metro Manila
Although the ongoing pandemic hampered the steady rise of the local arts scene, it is still commendable how many art galleries, auction houses, and museums have opened in the past decade. The continuous presence of emerging Filipino contemporary artists—and each of their recognitions from overseas—have drawn in more international galleries to exhibit here in the Philippines, as well as represent Filipino artists across the globe.
We round up 10 art galleries for you to take a look at. Several have been considered as institutions in the Philippine art scene for quite some time, while others are relatively new to the game, but worth visiting nonetheless.
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1/10 Silverlens Galleries
One of the most respected names in the country's art scene, Silverlens Galleries was founded by Isa Lorenzo and Rachel Rillo in 2004 and since then has been representing esteemed Filipino contemporary artists across Asia and beyond. Its third and most recent gallery space designed by Anna Sy of SC Architecture opened its doors in 2017 and has become an iconic venue for the Silverlens' blockbuster exhibitions.
Art lovers may continue to see Silverlens Galleries' exhibitions through the Viewing Room on its website and by-appointment visits.
silverlensgalleries.com, 2263 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City
2/10 Modeka Creative Space
Modeka Art dabbles in various kinds of visual art forms, from paintings and sculptures to digital art, and carries both emerging and established Filipino artists. It has an online art gallery platform where artphiles may explore the artists and their works' stories deeper through multimedia content and unique virtual experiences. Modeka also offers art previews, artist talks, and open studios for a more unique art experience.
modeka.space, Warehouse 20A La Fuerza 1, 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City
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3/10 Artinformal Gallery
Established in 2004 by Tina Fernandez, Artinformal is also one of the institutions in the Philippine art scene. It started as a community of rising contemporary artists until later became an attendant gallery space, promoting a wide range of art forms—from visual to performing arts. Now, it has two exhibition spaces across the metro, including its inaugural gallery in Greenhills, San Juan. As of today, you must pre-book your visit at Artinformal, but still, it continues to be one of the warmest and friendliest exhibition spaces in the metro.
artinformal.com, 277 Connecticut St. Greenhills, San Juan; C1 The Alley Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati City
4/10 Provenance Art Gallery
When Provenance Art Gallery opened its doors in 2016 at Shangri-La at the Fort, it was marked by esteemed society chronicler Maurice Arcache as "proof of the bustling art scene" in the country. Indeed it is not every day that we see art galleries popping out on every corner, neither a gallery as sophisticated yet avant-garde as Provenance. Founded by entrepreneurial couple Joanna and Raul Francisco, this gallery has already exhibited few of the most sought-after Filipino artists like Andres Barrioquinto and Betsy Westendorp, as well as many emerging artists. Provenance Art Gallery as of now maximises its social media channels to showcase its exhibited works. It is also open for scheduled appointments for private viewings.
facebook.com/provenanceartgallery, 2nd Floor, Shangri-La At The Fort, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
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5/10 Finale Art File
One of the premier gallery institutions in the country is Finale Art File that first opened its doors in 1983 and since then became home to household names in the Philippine contemporary art scene. Serving both as a commercial establishment and an artistic venue, Finale Art File occasionally features experimental works in an attempt to challenge the expectations in the arts community. With its sprawling gallery space divided into three multi-functional galleries, Finale Art File holds large-scale exhibitions that could be easily mistaken as ambitious yet exudes just the right amount of creativity for a visitor to fully appreciate Philippine art.
finaleartfile.com, La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City
6/10 The Drawing Room
Makati's tucked away arts and dining neighbourhood, known as Karrivin Plaza, houses three equally important art galleries: 1355Mabini (which takes its name from the popular street in Ermita that once was the epicentre of the country's art scene and also the said gallery's former address), a branch of Artinformal, and the new gallery space of Cesar Villalon Jr's brainchild, The Drawing Room.
Founded in 1998, The Drawing Room has been representing Filipino and Asian artists triumphantly in local and international fairs for decades now. When it opened, it was only featuring works made on paper, as part of its brand philosophy. Later on, it became more accepting of other works as more contemporary artists expressed their uniqueness through different mediums. Villalon, in an interview, said that he chooses artists who represent the places they've come from in their works and fearlessly comment on the current state of affairs.
drawingroomgallery.com, GF Bldg C, Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Don Chino Roces Avenue Ext., Brgy. Magallanes, Makati City
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7/10 Altro Mondo
Its name can be literally translated to "other world", and definitely, Altro Mondo has been communicating well this idea for over a decade as it is known to represent progressive artists in the contemporary art scene. Participating in local and international art events, Altro Mondo always features diverse types of art and hosts other art-related activities like conferences and artist residencies in an effort to push the Philippine art scene forward. You may view its exhibitions online through the gallery's virtual space via Kunstmatrix. Book your appointments as well if you prefer to visit physically and have a private tour.
altromondo.com.ph, Altro Mondo Creative Space - 1159 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Brgy. San Antonio, Makati City; Altro Mondo at the Picasso - 3/F, Art Gallery The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences, 119, L.P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City; Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea - 3/F Greenbelt, 5 Legaspi Street Legaspi Village, Makati City
8/10 Avellana Art Gallery
Avellana Art Gallery was founded in 1997 by Albert Avellana and houses the founder's personal collections of antiques and artworks from Modern and Contemporary periods. This charming post-war house was turned into a gallery and transports one back in time with its bucolic and colonial design inspirations. Drop by in the compound where you will also find Henry boutique hotel and experience occasional exhibitions that usually feature post-modern Masters.
facebook.com/avellanagallery, 2680 FB Harrison Street, Pasay City
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9/10 Galleria Duemila
Established in 1975, Silvana Ancellotti-Diaz's gallery is perhaps the oldest running commercial gallery in the country. For decades, it has showcased both masters and emerging artists from the contemporary art scene. It is also known for its conceptual installations at its gallery space in Pasay and other areas around the metro. Besides visual arts works, Galleria Duemila has also been a hub for music jams and performance arts.
galleriaduemila.com, 210 Loring Street, Pasay City
10/10 Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) Manila
Unlike those listed above, here's a non-collecting, not-for-profit arts institution dedicated to contemporary arts and design. MCAD Manila, helmed by its director and curator Joselina Cruz, has been known for pushing forward arts education and technology as evident in its impressive portfolio of curatorial projects. Check out its Youtube channel and find engaging and comprehensive art talks and panel discussions, as well as virtual tours of its exhibitions. As part of the safety protocols, book in advance your private tour of the gallery space.
mcadmanila.org.ph, G/F De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde, School of Design and Arts Campus, Domingo Street, Malate, Manila
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