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NY Met exhibition to mark 25th anniversary of Korean gallery

By Park Yuna

Published : Oct. 17, 2023 - 19:13

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"Untitled" by Kwon Young-woo (Courtesy of Kwon Young-woo Estate, Leeum Museum of Art, Seoul)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present the exhibition “Lineages: Korean Art at The Met” in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the museum’s Korean gallery, presenting 30 works of art and artifacts from the 12th century to the present.

“(The exhibition) is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of presenting Korean art for The Met’s international audiences. By pairing historical with modern and contemporary artwork, the show also poses the question of how new lineages and legacies have been shaped by Korean artists responding to the past, their present, and looking toward the future,” said Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French director and CEO.

The exhibition, which will open Nov. 7 and run through Oct. 20, 2024, will include works acquired by the museum in the last 25 years, and some of the works will rotate during the exhibition period, according to the museum on Monday. The presentation of works is supported by Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

"People" by Suh Se-ok (MMCA)

The ink painting “People” by Korean contemporary artist Suh Se-ok (1929-2020), which shows interlinked human figures, will be among the works on show at the opening. The ink painting of a landscape of people encapsulates the exhibition’s four intertwined thematic sections -- Lines, Things, Places and People, according to the museum.

The Met’s Arts of Korea gallery was founded in 1998 with support from the Korea Foundation and the Samsung Foundation of Culture. The gallery, designed by Korean architect Woo Kyu-sung, houses a collection of Korean art, including celadon ceramics and Buddhist paintings from the Goryeo era (918–1392) and porcelain and lacquerware from the Joseon era (1392–1910).

The first works of Korean art to enter The Met collection were eight musical instruments— part of the monumental gift of the Crosby Brown Collection in 1889.

An endowed curatorship for Korean art was established in September at The Met through the Korea Foundation Curatorship Fund, funded by the Samsung Foundation of Culture and the Korea Foundation. Eleanor Soo-ah Hyun was named the Korea Foundation and Samsung Foundation of Culture associate curator.

“The significance of the Arts of Korea gallery cannot be overstated. … In featuring modern Korean art in this exhibition, The Met is highlighting areas to develop and future pathways to pursue,” said Hyun.

"Paradise" by Baik Nam-soon (MMCA Lee Kun-hee Collection)

Five paintings in the collection of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, including "Paradise" by pioneering Korean female artist Baik Nam-soon (1904-1994), will be part of the exhibition.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, a quarterly publication, has devoted the Summer 2023 issue to the exhibition, according to the museum.