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New museum in Seoul reinvents communication with audience

In almost every culturally-rich city stands a landmark museum that embraces the nation’s cultural heritage and latest artistic endeavors: Tate Modern in London for example, alongside Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Mori Museum in Tokyo, which join the ranks of distinguished museums across the globe. The City of Seoul is finally set to materialize its years-long ambition of giving birth to an ultimate destination for contemporary art, located adjacent to the royal palace of Gyeongbok-gung.

A performance celebrating the birth of the new name for the Seoul branch of the National Museum of Contemporary Art took place from September 30 to October 2 (photographed by Hwang Dana).

“UUL National Art Museum, Seoul”

On September 30, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (www.moca.go.kr), unveiled the official name of the museum’s new branch -- currently under construction -- as UUL National Art Museum, Seoul. According to the museum officials, the naming of UUL derives from the second syllable sound of the capital name and is short for the Korean word “uri (우리),” meaning ‘us’ or ‘our.’

UUL is an abbreviation of “Urban User Lounge” as well, in line with its objective of making a visit to the museum a highly enjoyable experience accessible to all. The museum is positioning itself as the next DMZ (Dynamic Multi-art Zone), imbuing renewed perceptions on the widely known negative connotation of the term.


Surrounded by a unique mix of traditional Korean houses, modern art galleries, and great restaurants, the new museum positions itself as a cultural bridge connecting the past and present in a community brimming with Korea’s rich cultural heritage and cutting-edge art. Another important aspect of the museum is the presence of its extensive multi-faceted garden that will be easily accessible through multiple gates surrounding the premises.

Construction fences as creative advertising tools

The museum’s goal of reaching the widest possible audience is clearly evident in its art fence project. Following up on the project with artist Chung Seo-young last year, the museum launched its second series of art fence installations under the theme “Naked Museum,” placing a special focus on the essential relationship between art and audience. The façade walls promote the museum’s openness and enhanced accessibility to the public, with a playful reinterpretation of iconic classical figures originally created by old masters including Michelangelo and Da Vinci.

Art fence installations: “Amazing Korea” series (above) and “Naked Museum” series (below) Mona Lisa and David alongside other art historical figures are reinterpreted with a twisted wit in the “Naked Museum” series, to convey the museum’s dedication to providing an open space for all (photographed by Hwang Dana).

Around the corner from the 227-meter-long façade, several installations of the “Amazing Korea” series can be found. The next part of the campaign, which was made possible by the participation of the Jeski Social Campaign (www.jeski.org), attracts pedestrians with its dynamic representation of foreign visitors’ astonishment in their experiences of Korea.

Meanwhile, UUL National Art Museum, Seoul will put up a temporary pop-up store at its location on the way into the Samcheong-dong area, to promote the new space and its mission. Anyone is invited to explore and take part in making the museum an“open space for all.” The UUL National Art Museum, Seoul is set to open in 2013. For more information, please visit the official website at: www.uul.go.kr (Korean and English).

By Hwang Dana
Korea.net Staff Writer

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