Paris, Rome, Madrid – not only European cities are home to excellent art galleries and museums. Seoul has a multitude of spaces dedicated to art of all genres across the entire city. We take a look at some of the best.
Seoul Museum of Art
The Seoul Museum of Art, SeMa, is located in a large building behind Deoksugung, one of Seoul’s five grand palaces. The museum caters to the general public and does not only display fine art but also gives free art classes in Korean traditional arts.
This futuristic creative space is basically an art piece itself and comprises of five halls: Art Hall, Museum, Design Lab, Design Market, and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park. With its main focus being design and modern art, the plaza supports local creatives and artists to launch their careers. The Design Lab, for instance, is an incubator for local designers. Visit the 24-hour wonderland and you’ll have plenty to choose from with exhibitions, design markets, and galleries.
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) showcases contemporary art in Korea’s capital. It was also the first museum in the country to display modern and contemporary artfrom South Korea and worldwide.
Modern art fans will appreciate this lovely space from Korean art collector Kam Chang-il. Arario Museum houses a variety of Kam’s best pieces, including works from Koo Kang, Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Lee Ufan. The building also has a glasshouse as well as a traditional hanok annex that are cafes and restaurants.
Covering two building displaying both traditional Korean and contemporary art pieces, the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art is one of Seoul’s most prestigious art galleries. You’ll even be able to get a piece of Korean history as 36 pieces in their collection are recognized national treasures.
Lumas has over 30 locations worldwide, one of which is located in Seoul’s Cheongdam district. If you have never been to one of the locations before, the key difference to a regular art gallery is that you can purchase everything you see. From $100 to $10 million, you can find exquisite art pieces for sale here. The interior design is also quite unique as the exhibition is separated into a living room, kitchen and study area.
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Fans of contemporary art will enjoy exploring the works of Korean and international artists at the Kukje Gallery. Open since 1982, the gallery has become one of the leading venues for international art exhibitions, including Robert Mangold, Anselm Kiefer or Helen Fankenthaler. Besides giving people in Seoul the opportunity to appraise international art, Kukje Gallery also works hard to promote upcoming artists and give them exposure around the world.
Since 1970, Gallery Hyundai has been a leading venue in offering temporary and regular exhibitions on modern art. Located next to Gyeongbokgung Palace, the gallery is easily accessible for anyone touring Seoul even if it’s just for a short trip. Gallery Hyundai opens doors for Korean artists to gain international success and recognition. At the same time, the gallery also showcases works by international artists and introduces them to the Korean art scene.
If you appreciate any genre of art, the Kumho Museum of Art will be your best choice. Appreciating the diversity of art, this museum displays pieces of any stylistic direction. The museum opened in 1989 and is located east of Gyeongbokgung Palace. The entire basement floor is dedicated to up-and-coming artists, giving them their own space for recognition. The first and second floors feature various permanent and temporary exhibitions from local and international artists. That means you’ll see something new and different every time you go.
French art dealer Emmanuel Perrotin, who has galleries in New York, Paris, and Hong Kong, recently opened a 590-square-foot showroom in Seoul. Galerie Perrotin has an exhibition of French artist Laurent Grasso and features works by New York-based pop street artist KAWS.
Another gallery of French origin with 11 international showrooms, Opera Gallery is one of Seoul’s most sophisticated art venues. Featuring collections of global artists from Europe to Asia, the gallery only showcases the best of the best. Whether its modern, contemporary or photography, Opera Gallery is the place to be to spend your money if you are looking to add a piece of art to your private collection.
Not entirely dedicated to art, the National Folk Museum of Korea should still be included in this list. Located inside the Gyeonbokgung Palace complex, this museum is dedicated to showcasing the daily lives of Koreans in the past. Among three permanent exhibitions and two special exhibitions, thousands of artifacts are showcased, many of which give insight into Korean art culture. Pottery, paintings and calligraphy artworks from the distant past can be appreciated here.