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This winter has been a real doozy. I often wake up and think, “Covid? We’re still doing this?” I’ve taken a brief hiatus from updating my monthly roundups of art exhibitions to visit in Seoul due to the holidays, the tense rise of COVID-19 cases, and the increasing restrictions in Korea. But now it’s time to continue the tradition for your and my own benefit and take a peek at what the art scene in Seoul has to offer recently.

Some of the museums like the National Museum of Korea must be reserved in advance online for staggered entry as only a certain amount of people are permitted to enter per half hour. Please check the gallery or museum’s website for COVID-19-related instructions!

Emi Kuraya: Window and Scales

Emi Kuraya via Perrotin Seoul

Emi Kuraya’s solo show, Windows and Scales, will be on view at Perrotin Seoul (1F 5 Palpan-Gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul) between January 20th, 2021 to February 26th, 2021.

Her oil paintings of teenage female characters transfix on the canvas the gaze of the viewer, as they emanate a sense of both familiarity and unease: Kuraya’s girls, which she has described as being a kind of pictorial diary of her own daily feelings and experiences, stare back at the viewer with their enormous eyes, questioning us, their surroundings and themselves at the same time.

Perrotin Seoul

Andy Warhol: Beginning

Andy Warhol: The Beginning Seoul

After making its way through Italy, this Andy Warhol exhibition will arrive in Korea and will be open to the public between February 26th, 2021 to June 27th, 2021. You can buy early bird tickets at tmon.co.kr. The exhibition will be held at The Hyundai Seoul, 6th floor (10B, Yeoui-daero, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul).

The exhibition includes 153 works including Marilyn Monroe, representative of Andy Warhol, an icon of popular art, and signature prints such as flowers, as well as his drawings that were not easily seen, is released. […] This exhibition, which visits Korea for the first time after a successful tour of Italy’s major art museums, is expected to give visitors a fresh stimulus with the intensity of Andy Warhol’s peculiar intensity to daily life that is helpless due to the corona pandemic.


Yue Minjun, A-Maze-Ing Laughter of Our Times!

Rolling on the Grass by Yue Minjun, 2009 via SAC

This is the first large-scale exhibition in Korea by Yue Minjun, a leading Chinese contemporary artist. His works will be on view at Hangaram Art Museum (2406 Nambusunhwan-ro, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea) from November 20th, 2020 to March 28th, 2021.

Art critics have often labeled his early work “critical realism,” a term that encompassed a number of Chinese artists in the early 1990s that used satire to juxtapose capitalism and consumerism with Chinese communism.

Minjun says that the laughing character of his work was developed in response to the changes that China experienced since 1989.

“It has a lot to do with the changes brought about by China’s reform. The changes cause the changes in people’s behavior, very fast changes too. People’s emotions are different too, full and stimulating. The laughing faces represent the emotional feelings of the people.”


Rose Wylie: Hullo hullo, following-on

Rosey Wylie exhibition in Seoul via SAC

It seems like Korea can’t get enough of these Rose Wylie exhibitions! This latest one will be on view from December 4th, 2020 to March 28th, 2021 at Hangaram Museum of Art (2406 Nambusunhwan-ro, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea).

Lee Seung Taek’s Non-Art: The Inversive Act

Untitled, 1968/2018 via MMCA

Contemporary Korean artist, Lee Seung Taek, will be displaying his works from November 25th, 2020 to March 28th, 2021 at the National Museum of Contemporary and Modern Art in Korea, MMCA (30 Samcheong-ro, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03062).

Lee Seung Taek (b. 1932) is a representative figure in Korean experimental art who has continued since the 1950s until today with a prolific body of work spanning installation, sculpture, painting, photography, land art, and performance art. Lee Seung Taek’s Non-Art: The Inversive Act is a large-scale retrospective that aims to shed new light on the sixty-year career of an artist who played a pioneering role in transforming Korean contemporary art. The exhibition title Lee Seung Taek’s Non-Art: The Inversive Act encapsulates a career spent inverting every kind of object and idea, challenging fixed notions of art. His artistic views are well expressed in his declaration, “My view was inverted. My thought process was inverted. My life in this world was inverted.”and through the concept of “non-sculpture” by which he strove to break free of existing sculptural contexts.


2020 Title Match: Yang Ah Ham vs. Dongjin Seo

2020 Title Match: Yang Ah Ham vs. Dongjin Seo via SeMA

Works by artists, Yang Ah Ham and Dongjin Seo, can be viewed from October 20th, 2020 to February 14th, 2021 at Buk-Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA, 1238 Dongil-ro, Nowon-gu, Seoul, South Korea).

Every year, SeMA, Buk-Seoul Museum of Art invites two artists to hold an exhibition under the name of Title Match. For the past six years, Title Match has experimented with exhibition formats and sought new possibilities for competition, conversation, and collaboration between its two invited artists. This year, a theorist has been invited for the first time to change the format of the exhibition.

In its seventh anniversary this year, Title Match is joined by artist Yang Ah Ham and critic Dongjin Seo. The two try to converse on the theme of “How do we interpret today?” As a critical response to Yang Ah Ham’s work to research and analyze problems in the social system and predict the near future, Dongjin Seo brings the narrative of a Utopian past to usher in a new future. Within this conversational structure, the two hope to glimpse into each other’s creativity and imagination and draw out common ground on the subject in an atmosphere of respect and support.


Henri Matisse: Jazz and Theater

Henri Matisse exhibition at MyArtMuseum in Seoul

You can see this Henri Matisse art exhibition from October 31st, 2020 to March 3rd, 2021 at MyArtMuseum (B1 Textile Center Building, 518 Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul [994-31, Daechi-dong]).

TeamLab: LIFE

If you’ve ever been to any TeamLab exhibition around the world or in Tokyo, you’ll know how delightful this immersive experience is. Take your selfies to the next level at this interactive exhibition at Dongdaemun Plaza (DDP Dongdaemun Design Plaza Museum B2F Design Exhibition Hall [M1 Gate], 281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul 04566) from September 25th, 2020 to April 4th, 2021.

teamLab (f. 2001) is an international art collective, an interdisciplinary group of various specialists such as artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians and architects whose collaborative practice seeks to navigate the confluence of art, science, technology, and the natural world.

teamLab aims to explore the relationship between the self and the world and new perceptions through art.

In order to understand the world around them, people separate it into independent entities with perceived boundaries between them. teamLab seeks to transcend these boundaries in our perception of the world, of the relationship between the self and the world, and of the continuity of time. Everything exists in a long, fragile yet miraculous, borderless continuity of life.


JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT: Royalty, Heroism, and the Streets

Jean-Michel Basquiat Exhibition at Lotte Museum of Art, Seoul

You can see this Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition at Lotte Museum of Art at the Lotte World Tower (7th Floor, 300, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul) from October 8th, 2020 to February 7th, 2021.

The LOTTE Museum of Art will hold a large-scale exhibition featuring “genius artist” Jean-Michel Basquiat, who displayed a passionate world of art while resisting social bias. Basquiat, who made a meteoric rise on the New York art scene in the early 1980s and left some 3,000 artworks, opened a new horizon for contemporary visual culture through his new art charged with the energy of freedom and resistance. More than 150 masterpieces by this artist, whose name has become a byword for youth, and who is loved by people around the world as a source of new inspiration.

Lotte Museum Of Art

MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2020: Haegue Yang―O₂ & H₂O

Haegue Yang exhibition in Seoul via Hyundai.com

International artist, Haegue Yang, will be exhibiting her works from September 29th, 2020 to February 28th, 2021 at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA, 30 Samcheong-ro, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03062).

In MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2020: Haegue Yang – O₂ & H₂O, the artist attempts another leap toward “the abstraction of reality.” As the major energies of living organisms, air and water do not exist purely in natural states as chemical symbols. While O₂ & H₂O refers precisely to specific materials, the title feels abstract at the same time, metaphorically expressing the evolution of the artist’s persistent interest in tracing formless sensorial experience with the abstract language of art. O₂ & H₂O poses questions to contemplate in totality the world of scientific facts, the perceptual world including experiences and senses that venture beyond such facts, and the phenomenal world that is gradually pushed to the brink with the climate crisis and disasters.


The Unperceived

Lee Jin-ju’s exhibition “The Unperceived” via The Korea Times

Korean artist, Jinju Lee, will be displaying her works from September 9th, 2020 to February 14th, 2021 at Arario Museum (in SPACE, 83, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea 03058).

Jinju Lee draws delicately and in detail the pieces of memories and symbolic objects of everyday life that contain traces of the past intact. Based on tenacious observation of life and reality, she creates a peculiar and unfamiliar landscape formed on reality.

We live our lives while perceiving the world subjectively within the framework of our own experience and thought. On the one hand, some things exist in a way that cannot be seen or that are invisible or unexplainable. Thus, the way that people view the world is essentially imperfect in that it is somewhat distorted or lacking. In this exhibition, Jinju Lee presents her work in a huge A-shaped structure that encompasses the entire space so that the images cannot all be grasped at once. As if admiring an open scroll, the viewers realize the inevitable existence of ‘the unperceived’ which exists but is invisible, as they move along with the work created at eye level. Viewers will have the opportunity to think about the structure of truth that exists in ways that cannot be explained in many areas of life.

– Arario Museum

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