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Movement | © Pixabay
Movement | © Pixabay

Seoul's 12 Best Art Galleries

Picture of Linda Dunsmore
Updated: 12 May 2017

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.

61 Deoksugung-gil, Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

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.

281 Eulji-ro, Gwanghui-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

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 art from South Korea and worldwide.

99, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul

Arario Museum

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.

83 Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

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.

60-16 Itaewon-ro 55-gil, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

LUMAS

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.

97-9 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Kukje Gallery

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.

54, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Gallery Hyundai

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.

14, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Kumho Museum of Art

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.

18, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

_ 윤동천 초대전 《일상_의 Ordinary》 2017. 04. 12(WED) – 05. 14(SUN) – 하나의 장르로 규정할 수 없는 윤동천의 작업 방식은 형식의 방법론적 모색이기보다 시대에 대한 반성의 결과물이다. 특유의 풍자와 아이러니, 그리고 유머로 윤동천 작가는 관습적인 개념의 예술을 일상의 차원으로 전치시킨다. ‘일상’의 사물과 사건을 예술의 영역으로 가져오는 것은 그에게 있어 “예술의 외연을 넓히는 일임과 동시에 참된 예술의 의미를 일깨우는 것”이다. – #금호미술관 #초대전 #윤동천 #일상_의 #ordinary #전시 #예술과일상 #한국현대미술 #미술관 #종로 #삼청동 #경복궁 #kumhomuseumofart #contemporaryart #exhibition #YoonDongchun #artmuseum

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Galerie Perrotin Seoul

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.

F 5 Palpan-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Opera Gallery

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.

318, Dosan-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

National Folk Museum of Korea

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.

37, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul