June 6, 2019 - National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul - What Do Museums Change?—Art and Democracy
June 6, 2019

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul

Courtesy National Museum of Morden and contemporary Art, Seoul.

What Do Museums Change?—Art and Democracy
MMCA Research Project, International Symposium
June 28–29, 2019

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
30 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu
03062 Seoul
Republic of Korea
Hours: Monday–Thursday 10am–6pm,
Friday–Saturday 10am–9pm

T +82 2 3701 9500

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

The MMCA’s international symposium “What Do Museums Change?—Art and Democracy” is the first event to open the doors of various exhibitions and programs prepared for the 50th anniversary of the museum’s establishment. The MMCA’s past footsteps cannot be considered apart from modern Korean history. This year marks the 50th year of the MMCA, as well as the centennial of the March 1st Movement and the launch of the Provisional Government of Korea. In light of these facts, this symposium examines the concept and meaning of democracy in the context of museums and contemporary art today as we reconsider the pro-democracy movement that resisted the military dictatorship regime after the Korean War, and the history of Korean democracy that has recently passed through the Candlelight Revolution.

This symposium is the special event for the 50th anniversary of the MMCA, as well as the third research project of the MMCA’s “What Museums Do” series, which was designed to enhance the museum’s roles of research and production of discourses. At this time, the symposium aims to mobilize the hegemony of knowledge centered around Western Europe and North America, focusing on contemporary art and the current condition of politics and society in regions that have achieved democracy through troubled histories like Korea: Slovenia (Eastern Europe), Argentina (South America), and disputed territories (Africa and the Middle East) that include Morocco, Palestine, and South Africa.

Day 1 of the symposium is held under the theme of “Contemporary Art Museums and Practices of Democracy—Institution, Social Justice, and Activism.” On this day, we discuss concrete action plans to make today’s museums—which attempt to change their role from public space to common land—function as democratic spaces from a fundamental point of view. Furthermore, we also look at activists’ art, which refuses to compromise with institutional systems, and promotes its activities outside institutions for rapid progress and the change of local communities.

Day 2 of the symposium covers the theme of “Contemporary Art and Representation of Democracy—Transnational Democracy, Regions/Borders, and Post-representation.” The representation of democracy in art and the study of it have a long history—think about Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix or the hanging pictures hung around universities in Korea in the 1980s. The symposium focuses on the various ways in which democracy can be represented in contemporary art, especially in disputed areas near national boundaries, or in regions where there is an active movement to break the colonial vestiges that are still in place.

Day 1, June 28, 1-6:20pm
Contemporary Art Museums and Practices of Democracy: Institution, Social Justice, and Activism
Zdenka Badovinac (Director of the Moderna galerija, Ljubljana)
Tae-man Choi (Professor in Painting at Kookmin University)
Sohyun Park (Assistant Professor in Digital & Cultural Policy at Seoul National University of Science and Technology)
Ulf Eriksson (Curator of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm)
Viv Golding (Honorary Associate Professor in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester)
Alejandro Meitin (Director of Casa Río/South American Art and Environment Association)

Day 2, June 29, 1-6:pm
Contemporary Art and Representation of Democracy: Transnational Democracy, Regions/Borders, and Post-representation
T. J. Demos (Professor in History of Art and Visual Culture at the University of California, Santa Cruz)
Terri Weissman (Associate Professor in Art History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Sharlene Khan (Associate Professor in Visual Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand)
Reem Fadda (Artistic Director of the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi)
Sunyoung Park (Associate Professor in East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California)

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
Share - What Do Museums Change?—Art and Democracy
  • Share