Sarah-Neel SmithMar 8, 2022
Metrics of Modernity
Art and Development in Postwar Turkey
University of California Press 2022
Metrics of Modernity: Art and Development in Postwar Turkey (University of California Press, 2022) is a vivid portrait of the art world of 1950s Turkey in which Sarah-Neel Smith offers a new framework for analyzing global modernisms of the twentieth century: economic development.
After World War II, a cohort of influential Turkish modernists built a new art scene in Istanbul and Ankara. The entrepreneurial female gallerist Adalet Cimcoz, the art critic (and future prime minister) Bülent Ecevit, and artists like Aliye Berger, Füreya Koral, and Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu were not only focused on aesthetics. On the canvas, in criticism, and in the gallery, these cultural pioneers also grappled with economic questions—attempting to transform their country from a “developing nation” into a major player in the global markets of the postwar period.
Smith’s book publishes landmark works of Turkish modernism for the first time, along with an innovative array of sources—from gossip columns to economic theory—to reveal the art world as a key site for the articulation of Turkish nationhood at midcentury.
Reuben Silverman is a PhD candidate at University of California, San Diego