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Bukchon transforms into art destination

A former military facility in the Bukchon area of Seoul is set to become an important destination for art, now that the development plan for the new National Museum of Contemporary Art was officially adopted on January 13, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art’s Seoul Branch will house three floors of modern art created by leading Korean and international artists. The decision to limit the building’s height to only three floors was made to harmonize the new museum with its neighborhood, an old residential area filled with traditional Korean houses. When it opens in 2012, the National Museum of Contemporary Art will offer exhibits focusing on many different aspects and themes in contemporary art.

The new Seoul Museum of Contemporary Art (photo courtesy of the National Museum of Contemporary Art)

Bukchon lies to the east of Gyeongbok Palace, and is a mix of modern and traditional architecture, and includes both residences and small businesses. The area has also become a major arts district, with galleries both large and small setting up shop in the formerly aristocratic neighborhood. The new National Museum of Contemporary Art will be joining a community already brimming with artists, galleries and museums.

Artsonje Center (144-2 Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul)

As a private art museum supporting experimental contemporary art, the Artsonje Center concentrates on international exhibitions with a focus oneducational programs. Founded in 1998, its open attitude and experimental spirit have won praise from both the arts community and the general public alike. The center also works to support young talented artists and collaborate as across a broad range of arts, including music, architecture, dance and fashion.

(left) Hanok at Artsonje Center (center) “The Books," bookshop specializing in art books (right) Artsonje Center (photo courtesy of the Artsonje Center)

Artsonje Center is currently holding an exhibit called “Manga Realities: Exploring the Art of Japanese Comics Today.” The exhibition presents the work of nine contemporary manga artists, revisiting the asian comic book format and examining it as an artistic medium.

“Manga Realities: Exploring the Art of Japanese Comics Today" (photo courtesy of the Artsonje Center)

Admission is 3000 won for adults and 1500 won for students. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, please visit the official website at: (Korean and English)

Gallery Hyundai (“New Building” at 80 Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul; “Main Building” at 122 Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul)

Gallery Hyundai has played an important role in the development of the Korean art scene over the last four decades, working with both Korean and international artists.

(left) Gallery Hyundai's Main Building (right) Gallery Hyundai's New Building (photo courtesy of Gallery Hyundai)

Since its opening in 1970, the gallery has hosted exhibits by some Korea’s best-known artists, including Park Soo Keun, Lee Joong Seop, Kim Whanki, Kim Tschang Yeul, and Nam June Paik (Paik Nam June). It has also hosted more than 400 exhibitions eaturing internationally acclaimed artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gerhard Richter, Robert Rauschenberg, and Ai Weiwei.

Starting from January 14, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Jongno District Office, Gallery Hyundai is co-hosting a retrospective exhibition with the Chang Ucchin Foundation, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Chang’s death.

(from left to right) Chang Ucchin, Roadside Tree, 1978, Oil on canvas, 30x40cm; Chang Ucchin, Tree and Bird, 1957, Oil on Canvas, 34x24cm; Chang Ucchin, Night and Old Man, 1990, Oil on canvas, 40.9x31.8cm (photo courtesy of Gallery Hyundai)

Chang is one of Korea’s most representative modern artistsm known for his unique style and homey subject matter, such as children, families, trees and birds.

Docent tours run twice a day at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Admission is 3000 won for adults and 2000 won for students. For more information, please visit the official website at: (Korean and English)

By Hwang Dana Staff Writer


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