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Museum of Korean art archives to open early April

By Park Yuna

Published : April 2, 2023 - 12:23

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Art Archives, Seoul Museum of Art offers access to a variety of art archives at the museum. (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald) Art Archives, Seoul Museum of Art offers access to a variety of art archives at the museum. (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)

A museum dedicated to archives of contemporary Korean art will open Tuesday in Pyeongchang-dong, Seoul as a place where one can look up a variety of art archives as well as see exhibitions.

Art Archives, Seoul Museum of Art aims to collect and conduct research of archival material on Korea’s contemporary art, housing some 57,000 archives. Run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the archives at the museum can be accessed both online and offline.

The building consists of six entities based on function -- Moeum-dong, Baeum-dong, Nanum-dong, Research Lab, Reference Library and Digital Art Archives. More than a depository of archival materials, the museum will host exhibitions and educational programs for the public.

The inaugural exhibition, “Cheerful Learning, Delightful Knowledge, Joyful Knowing,” showcases materials donated by the late art critic Choi Min (1944-2018).

While Choi is widely known in South Korea for his translation of Ernst Gombrich's “The Story of Art,” the art critic, translator and poet was a founding member of the art movement group “Reality and Utterance” launched in the late 1970s by like-minded artists who believed that art should reflect the reality of people’s lives.

An installation view of “Cheerful Learning, Delightful Knowledge, Joyful Knowing An installation view of “Cheerful Learning, Delightful Knowledge, Joyful Knowing" at Art Archives, Seoul Museum of Art (courtesy of the museum)

Choi donated 161 artworks and 24,924 archives to the Seoul Museum of Art from 2019 to 2020 for the Choi Min Collection. The exhibition was organized on the basis of achievements made by research on the Choi Min Collection, in collaboration with researchers from different fields of art, cinema and literature.

“It is such a meaningful moment for South Korea’s cultural sector to establish a museum for archives focused on contemporary art,” said Lee Sop, co-curator of the exhibition.

The plan for the museum was initiated in 2014, and the 26.7 billion won ($20.7 million) construction began in September 2019. The museum will announce exhibition plans and educational programs once it opens next week.

A tour program for those who want to learn about the museum will run from April to June on Tuesdays and Thursdays on a registration basis. The museum is closed on Mondays.