Busan’s contemporary art scene might be less well known than that of Seoul, but it’s equally thriving. The city is home to international art events such as Art Busan and Busan International Art Fair, while attractions such as Gamcheon Culture Village draw thousands of visitors every year. With galleries all over the city, there’s no shortage of places to go — here’s your guide to the best places to see contemporary art in Busan.
This sleek, industrial-chic gallery is located in downtown Nampo-dong. Gallery 604 showcases work by various Korean and international artists — expect names such as Shim Moon Seup, Yoko Ukita, Zhang Xiaogang and Philippe Pasqua. The gallery spans two floors, and its exhibitions are small but perfectly formed. It sometimes runs events such as artist talks.
Gallery Woo showcases contemporary art across a variety of genres, including painting, sculpture and pottery. Established in 1990 in Seoul, the gallery moved to Busan in 2006, taking up residence in larger premises in Haeundae’s Grand Hotel in 2013. It’s one of Busan’s major commercial galleries and exhibits work by prominent Korean and international artists. It’s rarely busy but worth a look, especially if you’re staying in the Haeundae area.
Officially registered as a museum in 2012 (although it began exhibiting much earlier, in 2007), Goeun was the first gallery in Busan to specialise in photography, and is still the city’s most important. The museum aims to enrich Busan’s cultural life through supporting new and emerging artists, building photography archives and showcasing work from the region in well-curated exhibitions. The modern building is not only a gallery, but also an art space that hosts workshops, talks and cultural events including music performances and academic seminars. Recent exhibitions have hosted prominent photographers from across the ASEAN region and Korea, including Young Sook Park, Sun Tag Noh, and Dae Soo Kim.
Marian Shek also contributed to this piece.