[Weekender] Fall walks to art museums near Gyeongbokgung

By Shim Woo-hyun
  • Published : Sept 27, 2018 - 16:53
  • Updated : Sept 27, 2018 - 16:53

The fall has arrived and so has the season for strolling. In downtown Seoul, the area near central palace Gyeongbokgung is the favorite haunt of locals and tourists alike looking to enjoy fine culture and dining alike.

On either side of the massive Gwanghwamun Square in front of the palace are the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History and Sejong Center. The two large cultural institutions within close walking distance are perhaps ideal spots to start an “art walk” in Seoul.

An installation view of artist Choi Jeong-hwa’s “Dandelion“ at the MMCA’s Seoul branch (Yonhap)

The Sejong Center is currently holding artist Esther’s exhibition “Je reve,” present her drawings for children’s books. There is also an ongoing exhibition featuring Korea’s folk paintings drawn centuries ago.

The National Museum of Korean Contemporary History is holding three special exhibitions, including “Panmunjom, Dreaming of Peace Amidst Division,” showing photographs of Panmunjom.

Toward the east side of the palace of Gyeongbokgung, there is a road that connects to Samcheong-dong.

There are numerous well-established galleries on the road, starting with Gallery Hyundai, which is now presenting installation works by Lee Kang-so under the title of “Disappearance.“ The exhibition features new editions of the artist’s early works.

An installation view of “Disappearance“ by artist Lee Kang-so, at Gallery Hyundai (Gallery Hyundai)

At the MMCA Seoul branch, visitors can walk through exhibitions inside and outside the building. Inside, there are several exhibitions, including a retrospective exhibition of abstract painter Yun Hyong-keun, Choi Jeong-hwa’s solo exhibition and an exhibition of the four nominees of the Korea Artist Prize 2018.

The museum will present screen works and on-site performances of five artists at its multiproject hall under the project title of “Asia Focus.” The five artists include Nam Hwa-yeon, Royce Ng, Ho Tzu Nyen, Meiro Koizumi and Dai Chenlian.

Hakgojae Gallery and Arario Museum are next. Hakgojae Gallery is currently holding a solo exhibition of Yun Suk-nam, featuring five new works from the artist. Yun participated in the Korean Pavilion at the 1996 Venice Biennale and at the Gwangju Biennale in 2014.

Two-channel video installation by Francis Alys, at Art Sonje in Seoul (Shim Woo-hyun/The Korea Herald)

Behind the MMCA, there is Art Sonje, where an exhibition of Francis Alys is being held under the title of “The Logbook of Gibraltar.” Alys is a Belgian-born and Mexico-based artist whose works are well known for their use poetic measures to address issues such as borders, localism and globalism.

There are also local art tours scheduled in October. Korea Art Week, a nationwide annual art event led by the Culture Ministry and Korea Arts Management Service, provides walking tours into some of the galleries located in Samcheong-dong area. The tours will be led by art tour guides and docents and curators from the area galleries, including Kumho Museum of Art, Arario Museum and Hakgojae Gallery. The tours require reservations, with schedules available on Korea Art Week’s official website.

By Shim Woo-hyun (