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MMCA, a Hot Spot for the Younger Generation.. and more

MMCA, a Hot Spot for the Younger Generation

Exhibition view of "Game Society," National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Seoul, Korea. (May 12, 2023 - September 10, 2023). Photo by Aproject Company.

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) reported a significant increase in the MZ generation’s (Millennials and Generation Z) interest in art after the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first half of 2023, the number of visitors to MMCA surpassed 1.51 million. Prior to the pandemic in 2019, the MZ generation accounted for 47% of the total visitors; this year, that number has risen to 63%. Notably, almost half of the exhibition viewers at MMCA Seoul this year were in their 20s, indicating a strong preference for contemporary art among the younger age group.

Tthe 3 Candidates for Director of the MMCA

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (MMCA). ⓒ Lee Jung-kyu (이정규)

The candidates for the new directorship of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA), have been confirmed. The finalists include Shim Sang-yong, a professor at Seoul National University’s College of Fine Arts; Kim Sunghee, a professor at Hongik University’s Graduate School of Arts; and Kim Chan-Dong, the former director of Suwon Museum of Art. The final appointment will be made by the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Professor Shim Sang-yong was the director of the 8th Daegu Photo Biennale (2021) and is currently the director of the Seoul National University Art Museum. Kim Sunghee is a founding member of project space SARUBIA, one of the alternative spaces in Seoul. She established the nonprofit organization CAN Foundation and is currently serving as its permanent director. Kim Chan-Dong has served as the director of ARKO Art Center and the curator of the Gwangju Biennale’s special exhibition (2000) and the Busan Biennale (2016). 

Experts have highlighted “global network,” “curatorial expertise,” and “leadership in managing large organizations” as crucial qualities for the director of the MMCA. While all three candidates have played significant roles in the Korean art scene, there have been doubts raised about their ability to lead the country’s largest art museum. The former director, Youn Bum-mo, had a term that was supposed to last until February 2025 but resigned in April.

The Lee Kun-hee Museum is Scheduled for Completion in 2028 in Songhyeon-dong

Songhyeon Park. ⓒ Lee Jung-kyu (이정규)

The construction project for the “Lee Kun-hee Museum” (tentative name) has passed the preliminary feasibility study. The museum will showcase the cultural heritage and artworks donated by the late Lee Kun-hee, former chairman of Samsung Electronics. The total project cost is 118.6 billion won, and the construction period will last until 2028. The museum, with a floor area of 26,000 square meters, will be located in Songhyeon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul.

The construction of the “Lee Kun-hee Museum” aims to preserve, exhibit, and utilize the “Lee Kun-hee Collection,” cultural heritage and art pieces donated to the nation by the chairman’s family in April 2021. Among the total of 23,181 pieces in the collection, there are over 1,500 artworks, including masterpieces by renowned artists such as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Whanki Kim, and Park Soo Keun.

The competition to host the donation museum was intense among local government entities across the country. However, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism chose Songhyeon-dong, considering its high accessibility.

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