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I think just about everyone needs a mental health break these days, and with Covid restrictions still putting a damper on our social lives, the art museums in Seoul have been a nice momentary escape from the ongoing chaos that has rampaged through 2022. Here are the latest art shows that will be on view in Seoul through the Spring and Summer of 2022. I’ll continuously add more as I find them, so check back periodically to look for new additions!

Shepard Fairey: EYES OPEN – MINDS OPEN

Shepard Fairey via Lotte Museum of Art

American contemporary artist, Shepard Fairey, is probably most famous for his portraits of Obama and Andre, the Giant. A collection of his works will be on display at the Lotte Museum of Art (Lotte World Tower [7th Floor], 300, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul) from July 29th, 2022 to November 6th, 2022.

The LOTTE Museum of Art presents the solo exhibition of Shepard Fairey, who disseminates a positive influence through works of art that embody philosophical messages of peace, justice, and the environment, across pop culture and visual arts. The show will feature over 200 signature pieces spanning from his early to his recent works, including two new mural pieces, looking back at how the artist led street art, previously a subculture, into a more expansive art market. It will survey the entire artistic world of the artist, who, based on his distinct unbridled yet tenacious philosophy, reflects on our surroundings and society and stirs the public to take more action.

Lotte Museum of Art

Alex Prager, Big West

Alex Prager via Lotte Museum of Art

American photographer and filmmaker, Alex Prager, who is based in Los Angeles will be showing her works from February 28th, 2022 to June 6th, 2022 at the Lotte Museum of Art (Lotte World Tower [7th Floor], 300, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul.) She is famous for her hyper-real, Old Hollywood aesthetic.

The LOTTE Museum of Art brings you Alex Prager (b. 1979), an artist who captures Hollywood’s colors and subtle emotions with her camera lens. This exhibition is the first time viewers will have a chance to see Prager in Korea, showcasing a comprehensive body of work of more than one hundred photographs and videos encompassing everything from her early works to her recent releases. Prager’s work is like a scene from a classic movie, possibly from being greatly inspired by mass culture and the film industry as an artist born and raised in Los Angeles. Through its distinct hues and her mysterious image working, the moment she freezes on film sparks viewers’ imaginations, portraying in detail the internal emotions embedded in that split second. With intricate mise-en-scène that articulates the inner-workings of a person, this exhibition will present unforgettable cinematic moments to viewers through which they can experience the rawest human emotions.

Lotte Museum of Art

A Collector’s Invitation: The First Anniversary of Lee Kun-hee’s Bequest

Poster of the Exhibition via National Museum of Korea

As far as I know, there are two exhibitions of the late Samsung Chairman’s personal collection, one at the National Museum of Korea and one at the MMCA. Eventually, they plan to consolidate all the works in their own museum, but until then they are divided between the art museums in Seoul, South Korea.

The Lee Kun-hee collection will be on view at the National Museum of Korea (137 Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul) from April 28th, 2022 to August 28th, 2022. The exhibition includes pieces from Jeongseon, Kim Whanki, Claude Monet, Lee Jung-Seop, and Park Soo-Geun.

Tickets must be reserved on Interpark, and boy, do they go quickly. I made the mistake of dilly-dallying around reserving a ticket, and I can tell you one week into the month that they were all sold out through the end of June. Luckily, they do drop on the first Monday of the month at 2 p.m. for the following month, so if you wait on June 6th (Monday) at 2 p.m., they should be available for July.

Google Translation of the National Museum of Korea Listing for the Lee Kun-hee Exhibition

The exhibit displays a total of 355 “carefully selected” pieces among the vast collection donated by the late Samsung chairman, according to the museum.  

“Among them, 308 pieces will be from 21,693 ancient artifacts donated to the National Museum of Korea, 35 pieces are from the MMCA, which received 1,488 modern and contemporary artworks and 12 pieces are from five regional museums. They received 102 modern and contemporary artworks,” said Lee Jae-ho, curator of the exhibit from the National Museum of Korea. The artifacts from the National Museum of Korea include six state-designated National Treasures and 15 Treasures.  

As the exhibit at the museum last year only displayed 45 Korean artifacts and old artworks, the current exhibit is much more grand and even includes some modern pieces.

Korea Joongang Daily

MMCA Lee Kun-hee Collection: Masterpieces of Korean Art

MMCA Lee Kun-hee Collection: Masterpieces of Korean Art via MMCA

The other museum to receive part of late Samsung chairman, Lee kun-hee’s, collection is the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art or MMCA (30 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul) in Seoul, South Korea. The exhibition was slated to end on March 13th, 2022, but it was extended again until June 6th, 2022. You can reserve your ticket via the MMCA website or purchase a ticket on-site.

The Lee Kun-hee Collection comprises 1,369 Korean artworks and 119 overseas artworks. By genre, it includes 412 paintings, 371 prints, 296 works of Hangukhwa (Korean traditional painting), 161 drawings, 136 craft pieces, and 104 sculptures. Over 320 of the works were produced before the 1950s, while around 860, or 58%, were produced by modern artists – defined as those born before 1930. The collection includes works by Kim Whanki, Park Sookeun, Lee Jungseop, Lee Ungno, Yoo Youngkuk, Kwon Jinkyu, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and many more.

For this exhibition, around 50 representative works have been selected, most of them representing the modern and contemporary eras from the early to mid-20th century, which account for the main part of the Lee Kun-hee Collection. The first ones to be exhibited are masterworks created by artists beloved by Koreans, including the early 20th century works Peach Blossom Spring by Lee Sangbeom and Paradise by Baik Namsoon and the mid-20th century works Women and Jars by Kim Whanki, Bull by Lee Jungseop, and Woman Pounding Grain by Park Sookeun Yellow Road by Chun Kyungja and A Thousand Years Old House by Rhee Seundja. MMCA also plans to underscore the significance of this gift from Lee Kun-hee and his family by administering the Lee Kun-hee Collection as future cultural heritage, creating an opportunity for the Korean public to continue appreciating these artworks in the years ahead.

MMCA

Michael Craig-Martin

Michael Craig-Martin via SAC

This will be the world’s first and largest exhibition of original works by Irish artist, Michael Craig-Martin, including 150 pieces ranging from paintings to prints at the Hangaram Art Museum (2406 Nambusunhwan-ro, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul) from April 8th, 2022 to August 28th, 2022.

Anthony Browne’s Wonderland

Anthony Browne via abwm2022.modoo.at

British children’s book illustrator, Anthony Browne, will display his works from April 28th, 2022 to August 31st, 2022 at the Hangaram Art Museum (2406 Nambusunhwan-ro, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul).

If you want a closer preview of Anthony Browne’s take on illustrating Alice in Wonderland, read this lovely article filled with illustrations from The Guardian, “Anthony Browne: how I re-imagined Alice in Wonderland.”

I am Ground

“I am Ground” via The Hyundai

To commemorate the Hyundai Department Store Yeouido anniversary, there will be a free exhibition titled, “I am Ground”, on view at their Alt. 1 gallery (6th floor, 108 Yeoui-daero, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul) from April 30th, 2022 to June 8th, 2022. Featured artists include Yoon Hyangro, Zibezi, teamNode, Choi Sungim, and Min Joonhong. You can book a ticket at Naver Reservation.

Masquerade

Kim Kira a, “Super Heroes_Monster Mask” via MMCA

Though not in Seoul per se, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea is showing a group exhibition with the very relevant theme of masks in neighboring Gwacheon. The exhibition will be on view from April 13th, 2022 to July 31st, 2022 at MMCA Gwacheon (313 Gwangmyeong-ro, Makgye-dong, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do).

The exhibition displays 41 artworks by contemporary artists, including Kwon Jinkyu, Nam Kwan, Christian Boltanski, Sung Neungkyung, Kim Jungwook, and Zach Blas. Instead of being divided into sections, the exhibition makes use of the spatial characteristics of the circular gallery to create a natural flow, allowing viewers to make direct and indirect connections between the artworks. Partitions, installation materials, and lighting from previous exhibitions have been reused as part of the MMCA’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

MMCA

Hito Steyerl: A Sea of Data

Hito Steyerl, “This is the Future” via MMCA

The works of influential media artist, Hito Steyerl, will be on view at the MMCA Seoul (30 Samcheong-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul) from April 29th, 2022 to September 18th, 2022.

Hito Steyerl-A Sea of Data at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Asia, sharing 23 of her most representative works from her early video works in the 1990s, which took the form of film essays with a documentary quality such as Germany and Identity (1994) and The Empty Centre (1998), to her most recent video works reflecting on digital technology (including the internet, virtual reality, robot engineering, and artificial intelligence) within its relationship to human beings and society. In particular, this exhibition will mark the first presentation of Animal Spirits (2022), a new work commissioned by MMCA.

MMCA

Aztecs

Photo via National Museum of Korea

A special exhibition, Aztecs, will be on display at the National Museum of Korea (137 Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul) from May 3rd, 2022 to August 28th, 2022.

This exhibition attempts to tell the fascinating stories of [the Aztecs’] strong will to thank their gods and sustain the world, a belief that had been obscured by the practices of human sacrifices. The exhibition explores the great artistic, intellectual, economic, and political development of the Aztecs that flourished in Mesoamerica, presenting precious collections from 11 museums in Mexico and Europe as well as newly discovered findings never shown to the public.

National Museum of Korea

Eva Armisén: Painting Life

Eva Armisen exhibition via Interpark

Works from Spanish painter, Eva Armisén, are back in South Korea and are seemingly quite popular among locals. You can view the exhibition at the Yongsan War Memorial of Korea Special Exhibition Room at the War Memorial of Korea (29 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul) from May 13th, 2022 to June 4th, 2022. Tickets are available at Interpark.

Red Room: Love Is in the Air

Red Room: Love is in the Air exhbition via Ground Seesaw

This love-themed exhibition of over 200 works features artists, Minzo King, Martina Matencio, and Stella Asia Consonni. You can visit this exhibition at Ground Seesaw Seochon (18-8, Jahamun-ro 6-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul) from April 28th, 2022 to November 6th, 2022. Due to the nature of the content, it is only available to those 19 years of age or older. Early bird tickets can be reserved on Interpark.

Joan Miro: Woman, Bird, Stars

Joan Miro exhibition at My Art Museum via Interpark

The works of the famous Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramicist, Joan Miró, will be on display at My Art Museum (Textile Center Building B1, 518, Teheran-ro, Daechi 2(i)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul) from April 29th, 2022 to July 1st. 2022. The world tour exhibition in collaboration with Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona is coming to Seoul, South Korea after a stop in Pudong, Shanghai. Tickets are available pre-sale at Interpark.

Poetic AI

Poetic AI exhibition via Ground Seesaw

There’s another digital art exhibition comprising of 6 parts at Ground Seesaw Myeongdong (9th floor, Avenue L, 73, Namdaemun-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul) from April 7th, 2022 to October 6th, 2022. Reservations can be made on Interpark.

Gucci Garden Archetypes

Gucci Garden Archetypes via Korea Herald

Just a heads up that there’s also another Gucci exhibition, called “Gucci Garden Archetypes.” However, when I looked at the tickets on Naver Booking, the entire month was sold out and they’re only running the show from March 4th, 2022 to March 27th, 2022.

I clicked on every day and time slot, and I was able to book one lonely ticket on a Friday but ended up canceling it as I decided I didn’t feel like rushing over after work. If you’re a big Gucci fan, I’d say try to look at the tickets from time to time in case there are any cancellations, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

Han Youngsoo: Once Upon the Sky

This photo exhibition by Han Youngsoo will be on view from September 9th, 2021 to March 20th, 2022 at Lotte World Tower Seoul Sky (117-123 floors, 300 Olympic-ro [Shincheon-dong], Songpa-gu, Seoul). You can purchase tickets on Interpark.

David Shrigley

David Shrigley via KMCA

David Shrigley exhibition will be on view at the K Contemporary Art Museum (KMCA 3F, 807 Seolleung-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul) from December 18th, 2021 to April 17th, 2022. You can purchase tickets on Interpark and Naver.

Philippe Halsman: Jumping Again

This Philippe Halsman photo exhibition will be on view at K Contemporary Art Museum (KMCA 2F, 807 Seolleung-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul) from December 4th, 2021 to April 3rd, 2022. Tickets are available to purchase on Interpark.

JUMP for the new me!! When you jump, the mask comes off. Whatever situation Philip Halsman faces, he finds the perfect picture he wants. Halsmann is a virtuoso with the best cinematography and is a master who showed his imagination to the fullest based on his technical perfection. When he jumps, he defies his gravity with a sudden burst of energy, causing him to lose control of his facial expression, face, and muscles in his limbs. At this moment, the mask is removed and the true self is revealed. Philippe Halsman captured that moment on camera. Through Philip Halsman’s Jumpology, we hope that you will take a moment to look at the personalities and mental states of the main characters in the photos, and to think about when we are truly in our best form. In this exhibition, you can see not only Philip Halsman’s jumping photos and portraits, but also photo sheets that have never been shown in the exhibition, as well as jumping photos of ordinary but special people who convey courage and hope.

KMCA

Legendary Louis Vuitton Trunks

Legendary Louis Vuitton Trunks via Interpark

Legendary Louis Vuitton Trunks The Exhibition will be on view from March 18th, 2022 to August 21st, 2022 at Insadong KOTE (7 Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul). The world tour started in Sweden in 2018 and the Netherlands in 2016. You can purchase tickets on Interpark and Naver.

Legendary Louis Vuitton’s Trunk Exhibition is an immersive exhibition that you can experience the uniq ue trunks produced by designer Louis Vuitton since the 1850s, especially historical trunks owned by ‘Franklin D Roosevelt’, the 32nd president of US, ‘Ernest Hemingway’, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature by The Old Man and the Sea, and Hollywood actress Judy Garland, who dominated the 1960s, and Holly wood’s hottest star Sharon Stone in the 90s.

Legendary Louis Vuitton Trunks The Exhibition

The World of Tim Burton

Tim Burton exhibition at DDP, Seoul via Interpark

Tim Burton is a famous American film director, known for works like Tim Burton’s The Night Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands, and Beetlejuice. There will be a Tim Burton exhibition at DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza, 281 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 7[chil]-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul) Exhibition Hall B2F in Seoul from April 30th, 2022 to June 24th, 2022. You can purchase advance tickets on Interpark.

Master of British Contemporary Art: Michael Craig Martin

Michael Craig-Martin via Naver Booking

On view at the Hangaram Art Museum (2406, Nambusunhwan-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul) from April 8th, 2022 to August 28th, 2022. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased on Naver Booking.

Kelly Beeman: Wish

Kelly Beeman: Wish Exhibition at Perrotin Gallery in Seoul, South Korea via Perrotin

US-based artist, Kelly Beeman, will display her works in a solo show at Perrotin Seoul (1F, 5 Palpan-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul) from February 24th, 2022 to April 7th, 2022. Do keep in mind that Perrotin is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

At the heart of Beeman’s works is a predicament between reality and fantasy, temporality and permanence in acts of escape versus the fantasy of escapism. While fashion and garment patterns play a central role in each painting, each background is a minimal landscape, as if the women exist on a theatrical stage. Each woman seems to be dreaming with desire for freedom, whether in reaction to the global shutdown or as a necessary release into selfhood and self-realization. Beeman is challenging herself to find meaning in our isolation, to form an almost mythical explanation for our need to be connected to nature, family and friends in times of uncertainty.

Perrotin

Teresa Freitas: Springtime Delight

Teresa Freitas Photo Exhibition via Naver Booking

Photographer, Teresa Freitas, will be showing her works at the Hyundai Seoul Alt. 1 Gallery (6F, 108 Yeoui-daero, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul) from January 29th, 2022 to April 24th, 2022. Advance tickets can be purchased on Naver Booking.

Teresa Freitas is not an artist who simply takes pictures with a camera, but an artist who considers the richness of colors through an experimental process and approaches the material conceptually. Born in Lisbon and based in Portugal, she creates a fairy tale blend of nature, travel, architecture and dreams with vivid imagination. In particular, in this exhibition, the artist actively participates as a visual director, including planning, to provide an experience of walking through a pastel-tone film.

The Hyundai Seoul

Henri Matisse: Life and Joy

Étude pour la Vierge “Tête voilée”, Henri Matisse (1969) via Artsy

There’s another Henri Matisse retrospective on view at Hangaram Art Museum (Seoul Arts Center, Nambusunhwanro 2406, Seocho-gu, Seoul) that is on display from December 21st, 2021 to April 10th, 2022.

Over 200 original works including drawings, prints and art books will be shown as part of this exhibition, which is eager to illuminate the life and artistic world of Henri Matisse.

Seoul Arts Center

Ai Weiwei: Defend the Future

Ai Weiwei: Defend the Future at MMCA

Ai Weiwei’s works will be on view at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul (30 Samcheong-ro, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul) from December 3rd, 2021 to April 17th, 2022.

《Ai Weiwei》is a retrospective of Ai Weiwei (b. 1957), a global installation artist, film director and an activist. It will introduce the artist’s representative works that embody his ways of thought. 〈Coronation〉(2020), a film that depicts the situation of Wuhan City following its shutdown in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as 〈Omni〉(2019), a film made with VR technology will also be screened. Moreover, a site-specific project that deals with the current issues of 2021 will also be unfolded, which will be a new large-scale work that will be developed by taking into consideration the features of Museum Madang. The exhibition aims to look back on the role and impact of art within the society through the artist who has been dealing with major issues of the contemporary society (i.e. issue of democracy including surveillance and censorship in the modern society, human rights and solidarity of refugees).

MMCA

Chagall and the Bible

Marc Chagall via My Art Museum

This special bible-themed exhibition of the painter, Marc Chagall, will be on view at My Art Museum (B1, 518 Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul) from November 25th, 2021 to April 10th, 2022. Tickets are available on Interpark.

In November 2021, My Art Museum held a retrospective exhibition of the painter Chagall who left a mark in art history with his original materials and style, and the most important source of art creation for Chagall, the Bible. It will be held from the 25th to the 10th of April 22nd. Marc Chagall, a Russian-born painter who settled in France, spreads the message of life and love based on colorful colors and dreamy style, and is loved as one of the greatest painters of the 20th century along with Picasso and Matisse. . Unlike the previous Chagall exhibitions held several times in Korea, this exhibition includes 19 oil paintings and gouache, including and , which are in the possession of Chagall’s bereaved family with the theme of ‘the Bible’, which has not been dealt with alone. A total of 220 original works will be displayed, including masterpieces from the store, two large tapestries that are close to 4 meters tall, and the Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso Münster collection in Germany. During the time he was drawing Bible-themed works, he developed his art world based on his love for mankind suffering from war and slaughter. This will be a time to fully appreciate the message of love for mankind that he delivers through the Bible.

My Art Museum

Kandinsky, Malevich & Russian Avant-Garde

“Improvisation” (1913) by Wassily Kandinsky via The Korea Times

This Russian avante-garde exhibition will include artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, Alexander Rodchenko and be on view at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts (175, Sejong-daero, Jongo-gu, Seoul) from December 31st, 2021 to April 17th, 2022. Early bird tickets can be purchased on Interpark.

“Most of the 75 pieces to be showcased have never been seen by viewers in Korea before, except for two ― Kandinsky’s ‘Improvisation No. 217, Gray Oval’ and Malevich’s ‘Suprematism’,” Lee Hoon-suk, the show’s curator and an art historian, told The Korea Times.

The Korea Times

A Surreal Shock: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

A Surreal Shock: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen at Hangaram Art Museum (SAC)

This exhibition includes around 180 pieces of art — including René Magritte and Salvador Dali — borrowed from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (The Netherlands) and will be on view at the Hangaram Museum (2406 Nambusunhwan-ro, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul) from November 27th, 2021 to March 6th, 2022.

Salvador Dali: Imagination and Reality

Salvador Dali via GNC Media

The Salvador Dali exhibition will be on view at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) Museum, B2F Design Exhibition Hall (M1 Gate), from November 27th, 2021 to March 20th, 2022. Dongdaemun Design Plaza is located at 281 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul.

The first retrospective in Korea on the master of surrealism, Salvador Dalí is opening at DDP, presenting the Spanish artist’s oeuvre based on the collections from the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres in Spain, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, and the Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum) in Florida, United States.

After a long course of collaboration with the Salvador Dali Foundation, Salvador Dalí’s retrospective surveys the artist’s career and his genius talents by exploring the paintings chronologically from the artist’s early period to the last along with many interviews he conducted, film works, advertisements, fashion, and design, etc.

GNC Media

Tutankhamun: His Tomb and His Treasures

Tutankhamun Exhibition at the War Memorial of Korea via Tutankhamun.co.kr

The Tutankhamun exhibition is on view at the War Memorial of Korea (29 Itaewon-ro, Namyeong-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul) from June 22nd, 2021 to April 24th, 2022.

“Tutankhamun: His Tomb and His Treasures” is an exhibition at the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul’s Yongsan-gu District that displays replicas of the tomb of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun and 1,300 relics. Prominent experts took part in the event with the Egyptian government’s support. Marking the centennial anniversary of the tomb’s discovery, which is considered the greatest of its kind in archaeological history, the exhibition features real-size reproductions of items found in the tomb, from the murals of tombs to golden masks. Visitors can experience the process of excavating the tomb and learn about ancient Egyptian history and culture.

Korea.net

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