April 26, 2018 - National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea - Birth of the Modern Art Museum
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April 26, 2018

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea

Photo of completed construction of museum in 1938. Courtesy MMCA, Korea. 

Birth of the Modern Art Museum
Art and Architecture of MMCA Deoksugung
May 3–October 14, 2018

www.mmca.go.kr
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An Jungsik, Ko Huidong, Oh Jiho, Kim Whanki, Park Sookeun, Lee Jungseob, and more

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Deoksugung branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, as well as the 80th anniversary of the building’s original construction in 1938, from a design by Japanese architect Nakamura Yoshihei. To commemorate these occasions, MMCA organized this special exhibition to explore the history of its modern art collection. Also, for the first time, the museum is showing the original architectural drawings and related materials that were discovered in Japan in 2014.

The Yi Royal Family Museum of Art was the first building in Korea that was conceived specifically as a museum of fine arts. But when the museum opened during the Japanese colonial period, the collection did not include any modern Korean art. To display Japan’s advanced status, Seokjojeon Hall was filled with modern Japanese art, while the museum itself displayed traditional arts and crafts of the Joseon Dynasty. Thus, this exhibition of masterpieces of Korean modern art represents a belated realization of the dreams of Korean artists from the Japanese colonial period.

The exhibition covers numerous stories from the museum’s history, from the government-led construction of the building to the collection of modern Korean artworks that began in earnest with the opening of MMCA Deoksugung in 1998. We hope that this exhibition will enhance our visitors’ appreciation of the treasures of Korean modern art that have survived the turmoil of history to become invaluable cultural assets for everyone to enjoy.

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