Isfahan Contemporary Art Museum is located in the historical texture of the city in Ostandari street, behind Aali Ghapou Palace, near the beautiful Chehel Sotoon garden, next to the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Museum of Natural Sources, in front of the entrance of Isfahan Art University, in form of a Safavid building.
The building was established in the early 11th century A.H., at the same time as the reign of shah Abbas I, as one of the governmental constructions of Safavid which were probably used as a place for keeping the equestrian equipment and the state stable’s fittings, based on the previous name, i.e., Rakib Khaned (literary meaning horseman house). Rakib Khaneh was temporarily closed after the end of Safavid dynasty and reopened in Qajar period, at Haj Mohammad Hossein Khan Sadr Isfahani’s command, the chancellor of Fath-Ali Shah. During the reign of Mass’oud Mirza Zell-e Soltan this building was considered as the residence of this ruler after some repairs and extensions.
In Pahlavi period when the Statistics and Registration Office of Isfahan was settled here, it underwent some changes particularly in the western part. Being gradually restored and in some cases rebuilt by Isfahan municipality, the mansion was finally transferred into the Museum of Contemporary Art and was officially exploited on Esfand (March), 1373 A.H. This treasury was on display with 2600m2 area and approximately 1200 exhibition spaces in seven permanent sections, library, administration and conference hall. Seven display rooms include: calligraphy and writing, lacquer works, handwoven and embroidery works, miniature paintings, metal works, glass, pottery and Chinese wares, wooden works. The first section of museum embraces a collection of pieces, papers and volumes of Quran with Mohammad Momen Abhari’s script, books of hadiths, poets and prayers which have been exhibited with the scripts of Taraz Yazdi, Shafi Tabrizi, Mir Emad and his daughter.
Holding the provincial, national and universal exhibitions, specific conferences on different art disciplines, collecting, conservation, restoration and exhibition to the public, introducing people the contemporary arts, research on different artistic fields and providing a suitable place for gathering of artists’ community are interesting among the museum current activities. Moreover, the museum has a specific library with 1500 books on average.