The River City Bangkok shopping complex is a mall that specializes in fine arts and antiques. Its Galleria Zone on the second floor provides space for public art exhibitions, such as the recently completed La Femme exhibit, which was held to commemorate International Women’s Day and featured eight female artists from seven countries and three continents. Part of the Ithalthai Group, River City opened its doors in 1984, and is one of the longest running art show-houses and galleries in Bangkok.
The art gallery started off as Bangkok’s most reputable antique market as well as an antique auction house, but as younger generations of art lovers have gravitated towards modern art, River City has expanded to include contemporary art as a central part of its offerings. From art, to porcelain, to antiques—and just about every other fine art form—there are over 50 different shops and types of displays located in the various gallery rooms that you will find here.
Antique auctions are still held here as well. For over 30 years running, on the first Saturday of every month, over 400 auctions with 100,000 plus transactions have taken place—to the tune of over 700 million baht. Shop owners here are well respected as they are some of the pioneers of the Thai art and antique trade, having been here since its inception, and genuine experts on all antique and modern products, enthusiastic about showing off their passion and knowledge on their specific fields of expertise.
The events held at the art gallery are put on both by River City and other organizations who occasionally rent the space, making it an accessible spot for lots of different groups and mediums in the art community. Another unique feature about the River City gallery is that at many of the art exhibitions the art on display is also for sale. Marketing manager Anusorn Deeraksa says that those coming to purchase art are a mixed range of customers. “We get buyers who are art collectors or individuals who appreciate art and want to buy it for home decoration or personal pleasure,” he says. Collectors, investors, and art dealers all come here, which is no surprise given that River City also is known by its nickname, ‘The Living Museum’, due to the vast quantities of fine pieces—a fact that isn’t lost on connoisseurs of fine art.
Deeraksa also thinks that River City puts itself in the forefront of the Bangkok art curating scene due to its longstanding track record. He remarks, “Our location on the banks of the Chao Phraya is quite special and unique, and we have been in the art industry for more than three decades now, so potential buyers can rest assured in our expertise.”
An additional bonus is the collection of fine eating and drinking establishments at River City. The majority have outdoor dining terraces overlooking the Chao Phraya, and the site is always quite vibrant in the evening, as many river dinner cruises leave from the pier here, making it a bustling hub of activity. Regardless of one’s level of art expertise or interest, it’s worth making a sojourn here, as you’ll undoubtedly learn something new, and might even surprise yourself and end up bringing an objet d’art back home.
By Dave Stamboulis
River City Bangkok
23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng | Si Phraya Pier, Yota Rd.
Open daily: 10am-10pm | Tel: 02 237 0077