Art used to be a form of entertainment only for the elitist as the price is high and some artworks hold deep meanings that are incomprehensible to the commoners. Since centuries ago, the elitist had been gate-keeping art from the commoners to create an elite culture that is only exclusive to upper-class society. However, as the years passed by, art has become a topic that everyone from all social classes can enjoy. In Malaysia especially, art galleries KL and fairs have become popular weekend activities when they used to be something that Malaysians are uninterested in.
If you’re already a fan of art or thinking of getting into the art scene, here are 5 art galleries KL that you should visit during your off days!
National Art Gallery
National Art Gallery or mostly known as Balai Seni Negara is located along Jalan Tun Razak, the north side of central Kuala Lumpur. The nearest landmark is the Istana Budaya which is next to the art gallery. Today, this art gallery malaysia displays more than 2500 artworks that you can admire together with your companion or in your own presence.
The entrance to this art gallery is free of charge!
The current exhibition here is called NUSA and will be permanent until 2025. The word Nusa translates to motherland or homeland from Bahasa Melayu. So, you can get the gist of the exhibition about our country’s culture and tradition. In order to portray the theme, they have created eight segments of the exhibition: Exploring Stories and Connecting World, Searching the Essence, Symbols/Fonts/Language, Coding and Charm/Divination, Mobility, Diaspora, Longing, and Vibe the Verve, Escalating Geist, Solicitude Culture and Sowing Inner Characteristics.
The art gallery opens everyday from 9AM to 5PM with the last entrance at 4.30PM.
If you’re planning to go there by public transport, you have to take the LRT and stop at Titiwangsa Station. From there, you can either book a ride or if you feel like walking, the art gallery is a 20 to 25 minutes walk from the station.
Further information about National Art Gallery:
If you’re an avid user of social media, you must have heard of this art gallery Kuala Lumpur – ILHAM Gallery. If you haven’t, don’t worry!
This art gallery is located at Level 3-5 of Ilham Tower, Lorong Binjai, Kuala Lumpur. Their vision is to create a place of inspiration and promote contemporary art culture for Malaysians of all ages and social classes. Unlike the previous art exhibition KL, ILHAM Gallery doesn’t have a permanent exhibition so you have to be updated on their social media to find out more about their current exhibition.
Currently in January 2023, they are holding an exhibition called Dream of The Day, which derives from David Medalla, a Philippine-born artist’s manifesto in 1965. He is known for having a huge influence on the British and contemporary art scene since the 1960s. This exhibition will showcase his works together with 38 other artists from all over the world – Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Egypt and Malaysia. The exhibition also has a wide range of media, genres, and sensibilities exploring the theme of surrealism, slow cinema, trans-performance, queer photography and feminist painting. If you want to challenge your world belief, you can go here and explore all the artworks.
The entrance ticket for Ilham Gallery is free. You can just walk in and write your name in the logbook then you can head inside the gallery.
However, they limit to 70 people only in the gallery so it’s advisable to go on weekdays or early during the weekend to avoid queuing. It opens from 11AM to 630PM. In order to get there by public transport, you can ride the LRT to Ampang Park station and walk for 2 minutes to the gallery.
Further information about ILHAM Gallery:
Bukit Bintang is known as one of the busiest cities in Kuala Lumpur as it houses many shopping malls like Pavilion Bukit Bintang, Lot 10, Fahrenheit 88 and Berjaya Times Square. Furthermore, the city is the go-to spot for tourists to try a wide range of local street food at Jalan Alor Food Street. Despite the crowdedness, there is a hidden sculpture and painting art gallery called UR-MU (short for Urban Museum) that you should visit!
UR-MU is located at Jalan Bendera, Bukit Bintang which is a residential area that is secluded away from the congested part of the city. At present, they have a permanent contemporary art exhibition with 10 different themes of artworks – Sens-Asia, People, Kampung Kita, Power Play, Raksasa (Monsters), Superheroes, Framing Modernity, Structure, Made’s Garden and the Sculpture Lounge.
In addition, they have a roof-top sculpture garden and a Balinese Garden to pay tribute to the late landscape designer, Made Wijaya. One of the selling points of this art museum KL is it is a five-story building with each floor distinct with different exhibition themes. So, people usually will ride on their elevators with transparent walls to record each of the exhibitions for their TikTok content.
In order to visit UR-MU, first you have to book a ticket on their website which costs RM10 per person and choose the day and time slot that you prefer. However, it is advisable to book your ticket a week earlier as this gallery is one of the famous tourist spots and there is a risk that there will be no ticket available if you book it near to your preferred date.
To go there by public transportation, you can stop at Bukit Bintang Monorail or MRT and walk for 5 minutes only to the gallery.
Further information about UR-MU:
HOM Art Trans
If you’re into a more independent art scene, then you can visit this art gallery in KL named HOM Art Trans. It is located at Taman Cempaka, Ampang and was founded in 2007 with the objective to support the growth of visual art in Malaysia while also collaborating with different artists in Southeast Asia. They also have programmes to encourage the local youths to be more involved in art – The Residency, the Art Fund and The Art Award.
Currently, they are organizing an art exhibition KL by local artists, Faizal Suhif and Jamil Zakaria entitled Kias Alam that focuses on charcoal painting with the theme of nature. Their artworks may look dark and gloomy but each of them holds a deeper meaning that will make you rethink your world ideals.
They are open from Tuesday until Saturday from 11AM to 6PM. If you wish to visit on Sunday or Monday, you need to make an appointment beforehand. However, they are closed on public holidays. So, to get there by train, ride the LRT until Cempaka station and the gallery is only a 3-minutes walk.
Further information about HOM Art Trans:
This Malaysia art gallery is situated in Kelana Square, Kelana Jaya and is the golden child of Art Village Gallery. They describe themselves as an art gallery that collaborates with artists that have potential, relevance, and depth in their works. They created an art space for art appreciators, collectors and enthusiasts from all over the country.
Their aim in creating this space is to promote art appreciation, especially Asian artworks. Other than organizing art exhibitions, they also participated in many regional art fairs in previous years.
You don’t need to pay anything to enter this KL art gallery – it’s FREE OF CHARGE!
However, be aware of their opening hours – 11AM to 5PM and they are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. The gallery is not as accessible by public transport. You can ride the LRT until Kelana Jaya station but it’ll be almost 30 minutes walk to the gallery, but you still have another two options – ride the T781 bus to PJ686 Kelana Putri Condominium (15 minutes journey) or book a grab for RM5-RM10.
Further information about G13 Gallery:
What is an art gallery?
An art gallery is a space for the art lovers community to visit and view amazing artworks and depending on the art gallery, they can even buy the ones they are interested in. Usually, different art galleries have their own unique artwork theme so you should research before visiting one.
Art galleries are built with the purpose of aiding artists to promote, support and expand their careers. Without art galleries, artists will have a harder time building their names and selling their artworks. Even though we currently live in a technology advance world, people still prefer to go out and observe physical items rather than scroll through the pictures on the internet.
What is the first public art gallery in the world?
The first public art gallery in the world is Hugh Lane Gallery, in Dublin, Ireland. It was founded and named after a famous art collector, Sir Hugh Lane on 20th January 1908. If you’re claim yourself to be an art enthusiast, you should definitely include visiting this art gallery in your bucket list. You can view famous impressionist paintings by Monet, Pissaro and Morisot as well as the famous Francis Bacon Studio that was built in 1998. Also, it houses the masterpiece by Harry Clarke, The Eve of Saint Agnes. Furthermore, if you’re familiar with English Literature, you can view the protrait of the Irish poet, W.B Yeats who wrote five poems about this art gallery.
You can visit the art gallery any day from Tuesday to Sunday. However, they have different opening hours depending on which day you plan to visit the place. They open from 9.45AM to 6PM on weekdays and 10AM to 5PM on weekends. It is also recommneded to spend 1 to 2 hours in the gallery to get the full art experience at the art gallery. Moreover, the art gallery also features accomodation for wheelchair users such as ramps and elevators.
What are the benefits of going to art gallery?
First, we can increase our knowledge about the artistic world. In the art gallery, there are usually information cards pasted nearby the artwork to explain its meaning. With that, we can enjoy the artwork better and not just pretend that we understand the painting.
Furthermore, it improves our imagination skills. Typically, when we practice memorization, we tend to use visual images to help us remember a piece of specific information better. Therefore, the more visual images we’ve seen in our life, the clearer our visual language will be. That is why going to art galleries can improve our imagination skills.
What are the types of art gallery?
There are four different types of art galleries – Commercial, Artist-Run Initiative, Vanity and Non-profit.
- Firstly, commercial art galleries are where art collectors buy artworks displayed in the gallery and the profit will be divided between the artist and the gallery.
- Meanwhile, Artist-Run Initiative is a collaboration project of a group of artists where they split the costs and responsibilities to run a gallery. This type of art gallery provides more control for the artist to display their artworks, set their pricing and profit distribution among themselves.
- On the other hand, vanity galleries charge a price to the artists to showcase their artworks to be sold to art collectors. Different from commercial galleries, they charge artists on the rental fee instead of commission per every artworks.
- Lastly, non-profit art galleries do not charge any commission or rental fee for artists to display their artworks. They mainly receive their funding from donations or grants among the art community.
What are the etiquettes to go to an art gallery?
The common etiquettes to visit any art gallery are:
- to keep your hands off the artworks, this is to avoid ruining the artworks, unless it’s an interactive artwork
- do not turn on your flash camera because the lights from flash may cause damage to the artworks and ruin its quality
- be thoughtful of others when taking pictures. It’s okay to take pictures to keep as memories but don’t hog the artwork as there are other visitors that want to enjoy it too
- do not ever bring food or drinks in the art gallery as it will put the artworks at risk. There is always a chance of your food or drinks to spill on the artworks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Art galleries are run by a gallerist – the owner of the operator of the art gallery. Gallerist buys and sells artworks to gain profit for their business and frequently focus on artworks with high prices.
Their main income is by charging commissions to artists as a fee of “helping” them to sell their artworks. The commission percentage can be negotiated but it is commonly not under fifty percent.
Yes, it is important to create brand awareness and make connections among the art community. Furthermore, art collectors will think of your artworks more valuable if your artworks are showcased in an established gallery.
First, you need to do research on the art gallery you wish to have your artworks showcased by them as different art galleries have different requirements for their art exhibitions. Then, you should prepare submission files to be sent to the art gallery. Make sure to select your best artworks to increase the chances for your submissions to be accepted. Before submitting your submission, make sure to follow the gallery’s instructions and if you are unclear of some of them, don’t be afraid to ask. This is to avoid yourself from making beginner mistakes. Lastly, double-check your submissions before hitting the submit button and pray that they will contact you back!
Yes, you definitely can! However, galleries usually charge 50% or more as commission fee to sell your artworks to art collectors. If you have the fund, you should go for it but if not, there are other ways to sell your artworks – social media!
If you want to sell paintings, the rule of thumb is to multiply the painting’s width by its size to find its total size in inches. Then, multiple that number by the amount of money depending on your reputation in the art scene. Then, count the cost of the materials you used for your painting then double that number.
Yes, you can. Just visit any of your preferred local art galleries and look around to see which artworks that you want to buy. Then, you can approach the gallery staff for more information on how to buy the artwork you chose.
It’s completely normal to negotiate a price for artwork before you buy it. Some galleries also offer installment plans, it depends on the gallerist and the artist. However, remember not to haggle too much because some artists’ main income is their artwork and we should appreciate their talent and efforts by paying them what they deserve.
If you have passion in art, you definitely can! Just look up on Google to see if there are any vacancies for art gallery staff nearby you or you can try to visit any art galleries that are close to you and ask them directly.
The most in-demand or famous artworks that sell the most at any galleries are: modern or semi abstract landscapes, seascapes, wildlife, impressionist, and nudes. This is because some art enthusiasts collect artworks not only for their personal use, but it’s for an investment. So, they can make profit in the future.
An art gallery is a privately-owned building that typically organizes exhibitions with a group of artists while also making sales of artworks. Meanwhile, an art museum is a public and non-commercial establishment that focuses on organizing exhibitions for cultural and educational purposes.
If you have the chance to travel overseas, you should visit the Louvre Museum in Paris, France to see the world-famous Monalisa painting. You can also visit the Van Gogh Museum at Amsterdam, Netherlands to admire Van Gogh’s paintings and visit the sunflower field located beside it.
First, you need to store the artworks away or limit them from direct sunlight because it will quicken the fading process of the painting. You also need to be aware of the humidity of the room as paintings, especially old ones, are fragile so a room with high humidity level will affect the colours of the painting. Other than that, place your artwork inside a glass or acrylic box to avoid people from touching it and for it to be dusty.
Yes, definitely! As art galleries are not as crowded as shopping malls, you can enjoy some privacy while visiting there with your date. Pro tip – do research on the art exhibition beforehand so you can impress your date with your knowledge about arts.
As art is subjective, everything can be considered as an artwork. But typically, the types of artwork that you can see at an art gallery are hand-drawn paintings, digital paintings, art installation, figurines and many more!