Sunday, January 13, 2019

Art Museums in Seoul

Whether you're an artist or not, find inspiration in these art museums in Seoul.

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul)
30 Samcheong-ro, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Sunday to Thursday 10AM to 6PM
Friday and Saturday 10AM to 9PM
Admission fee 4000 won (free every last Wednesday of the month)

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul), located beside Gyeongbokgung Palace, offers eight galleries.

When I visited, one of the exhibits, occupying three galleries, was about the life and works of Yun Hyong Keun (1928-2007). He only fully committed himself to art in 1973, when we has 45 years old. The hardships he had to endure—he was imprisoned—showed in his work: from the blue tones of his art (1960s to 1973) prior to his detention to the dark/black tones after his imprisonment (after being imprisoned, he could not find a steady job).

Another exhibit showcased art installations by Choi Jeong Hwa. The collection was entitled "Blooming Matrix" and the installations were made from everyday things like chairs, pots, rocks, buoys, etc. Quite interesting what one can do with ordinary, everyday things!

The third exhibit showed the works of four artists, each answering a question as its theme and using a different medium. The best one for me was by Jae Ho Jung with his paintings of buildings and the art installation of a rocket.

I ducked in the museum not expecting anything—I was there to take respite from the heavy rain—and I came out really glad to have visited this museum. The two and a half hours went by so quickly. As they say: time flies when you're having fun.

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) has two branches in Seoul. The other one is in the Jeonggwanheon Hall of Deoksugung Palace (you must pay the admission fee for the palace, and pay a separate fee for the museum).

Directions to National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul): Take the subway to Anguk Station. Take exit 1, and walk about 15 minutes to National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul).

Early works of Yun Hyong Keun

"Dandelion" by Choi Jeong Hwa is made with about 7000 used kitchenware

Jae Ho Jung

Arario Museum in Space
83 Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Tuesday to Sunday 10AM to 7PM
Admission fee 10,000 won

Arario Museum in Space has permanent exhibits as well as temporary ones. Admission to the museum includes an audio guide to help guests better appreciate the museum's collection.

I was on the fence whether to visit Arario Museum in Space or not for the reason that its admission fee was quite expensive for me. On my fifth day in Seoul, I was too tired to walk or go anywhere far and ended up going to Arario Museum in Space since it was just a few minutes walk from where I was staying.

I am happy my tired legs brought me to Arario Museum. The museum had very interesting pieces in many different mediums. (Even the building itself was interesting!) Its permanent collection includes 147 works by 39 artists from different countries (includes Andy Warhol and Keith Haring). It also had an exhibit by Li Qing called "Museum in Museum" where the space was converted into eight rooms showing the life of a modern-day artist.

There was also a special exhibit called "The Great Chapbook II" by Noh Sang Ho which included 1500 artworks by just one artist—a staggering amount of artworks by one artist!

Directions to Arario Museum in Space: Take the subway to Anguk Station. Take exit 3.

Arario Museum in Space

One of the rooms in "Museum in Museum" exhibit

The Great Chapbook II

Seoul Museum of Art (Seosomun)
61 Deoksugung-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
Daily 10AM to 8PM
Admission is free

Seoul Museum of Art has modern art exhibits changing every few months (check the website for current exhibits). When we visited the Seosomun branch, near Deoksugung Palace, the Seoul Museum of Art was hosting the Seoul Mediacity Biennale with the theme "Good Life". Modern artworks—videos, art installation, digital prints, etc—by 68 artists from 16 countries were on display. My sister and I found most of the art rather bizarre.

Directions to Seoul Museum of Art: Take the subway to City Hall Station. Take exit 1 or 12.

Seoul Museum of Art (Seosomun branch)

Dream Forest Art Center
173 Wolgye-ro, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul
Tuesday to Sunday 10AM to 6PM
Admission is free

Dream Forest Art Center is located in Dream Forest Park. The Art Center has performance venues, an art gallery, cafe, restaurant, and an observatory. Though the art gallery is small, it is worth a visit along with the observatory and the gardens of Dream Forest Park.

The exhibit in the art gallery is not permanent. During my visit, a solo exhibit by Park Min Kyu entitled "Coexistent City" was on display. His artworks were made of acrylic, wooden cubes, and iron rings. The pieces made with iron rings were most interesting for me.

Directions to Dream Forest Art Center: Take the subway to Miasageori Station. Take exit 3. Take bus #1124 (every 10 minutes) to Dream Forest Art Center Entrance bus stop. Bus fare is 1200 won. 

Interesting pieces using iron rings

Dongdaemun Design Plaza
28, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
Tuesday to Sunday 10AM to 7PM
Admission is free (some exhibits may require a fee)

Dongdaemun Design Plaza is a futuristic looking building. Aptly designed for its purpose: it is a venue for exhibits, fashion shows, product launches, etc. Since the exhibits are not permanent, there is always something new to see.

When we visited, we were not looking to check out a specific exhibit, but were there just to see the inside of Dongdaemun Design Plaza. While exploring inside, we happened to see an exhibit in the Design Pathway. It was Park Choon Moo's (a fashion designer) 30-year collection. And an amazing thing about the Design Pathway is that we had walked from the topmost floor to the basement without using stairs!

In the park surrounding DDP are sculptures, exhibit halls, and two museums. One museum is the Dongdaemun History Museum where relics excavated from the site are on display, and the other is Dongdaemun Stadium Memorial showcasing past events held at the stadium (DDP is where the stadium used to be). Admission is free in the museums.

Directions to Dongdaemun Design Plaza: Take subway line 2, 4, or 5 to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station, exit 1.

Park Choon Moo's collection on display at the Design Pathway

This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.

Sokcho+Seoul+Gwangju, Autumn 2018
Itinerary and Expenses: 10D/10N Seoul and Sokcho
Sokcho, Gangwon-do
Sokcho Accommodation: With U Hotel & Guesthouse
See Sokcho
Seoraksan National Park
Seoul Accommodation: Hostel Tommy
Finding Solace in the Midst of Seoul's Urban Jungle
Art Museums in Seoul (you're here!)
Food for the Seoul
Unhyeongung Palace, Cheong Wa Dae, Jogyesa Temple
Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do
UNESCO World Heritage: Namhansanseong Fortress

No comments:

Post a Comment