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Museum Exhibitions to See in 2023:
Busan Museum of Art, Jeonnam Museum of Art, and Daegu Art Museum

Major art museums in Korea have announced their new directions and exhibition schedules for 2023. K-ARTNOW.COM would like to take a look at the exhibitions introducing Korean contemporary art among the exhibitions to be held at the Busan Museum of Art, Jeonnam Museum of Art, and Daegu Art Museum in 2023.

The Busan Museum of Art (BMA) will take a step forward to become a 21st-century art museum that represents and supports Busan’s local art while keeping up with international art trends. The BMA, which has been preparing to remodel its building since 2018, has announced that it will hold seven exhibitions this year with the aim of “looking back on the museum’s history and value of the past 25 years and designing its next 25 years.”

Exterior view of Busan Museum of Art, Busan, Korea. Photo by Aproject company.

One of the scheduled exhibitions that focuses on Korean contemporary art is Vision & Perspective 2023. Since 1999, the annual Vision & Perspective program has been supporting the activities of artists based in Busan City and Gyeongnam Province with the goal of discovering young artists through exhibitions.

Vision & Perspective 2023, which is scheduled to take place from March 10 to August 6, 2023, will introduce the works of three artists: Deok Hee Kim, Minwook Oh, and Junghwan Cho. In the exhibition, the works of these three artists will provide an opportunity to see how they have interwoven contemporaneity and local conditions into their artistic practices.

Through experimental works, Deok Hee Kim explores the essence and existence of the world around us, such as matter, energy, time, and space. Minwook Oh explores urban space through film, documentary, and other art forms to reveal the dark side of Korea, and Junghwan Cho attempts to depict the desires reflected in high-rise apartment buildings and the underlying anxiety through painting.

Installation view of Ha Minji's 'No Longer Belong to Any Place' (2020), "Vision and Perspective," Busan Museum of Art, Busan, Korea. (July 17, 2020 - October 4, 2020). Courtesy of the artist and the museum.

There will also be a collection exhibition, which is scheduled to take place from May 4 to August 31, 2023. The exhibition will examine Korean art history, with a focus on the Busan area. Alongside the exhibition, the BMA’s collection catalog will be published before June 2023, providing an excellent opportunity to learn about the museum’s identity, history, and future directions.

Lee Ufan, 'Relatum-Narrow Gate,' 2015, Iron plates, natural stones, Iron plates: 220x320x3cm (4pcs), natural stones: within 100x100x100cm (4cm)

In addition to exhibitions introducing Korean contemporary art, various other exhibitions are also scheduled this year. Takashi Murakami: Murakami Zombie was delayed but is now scheduled to open with free admission from January 26 through March 12, 2023. This exhibition will be a large-scale retrospective of Murakami, including his early works that have never been shown to the public, as well as sculptures, installations, and videos. The exhibition is part of the “Lee Ufan and His Friends” series, which showcases international artists responding to Lee Ufan’s artistic practices.

Prior to the renovation of the museum in 2024, the exhibition Renovation Project I, II will be held to examine the museum’s historical significance and determine its future role. At the Children’s Gallery, a solo exhibition by Gim Hong-sok will be held from May 4 to December 17. Space Lee Ufan will have two exhibitions by the artist Lee Ufan from January 2 to December 31 and a special exhibition from April 21 to December 31.

The Jeonnam Museum of Art (JMA) announced its goal for this year as it celebrated its third anniversary of opening: to transition from a recently opened local art museum to a global art institution that can connect tradition, present, and future. In 2023, the JMA announced its four long-term goals for its exhibitions and projects, which included inheriting traditional heritage, being a contemporary art museum, reexamining the future of Jeonnam art, and considering sustainable growth.

Exterior view of Jeonnam Museum of Art (JMA). Photo by Aproject Company.

New Acquisitions, the first exhibition of the year, will be held from January 3 to March 26, 2023. The exhibition features twenty-four works that were recently acquired between 2021 and 2022, revealing the museum’s identity and future direction. As the first public art museum established in the Jeonnam Province, it has been acquiring works by local artists and works that depict the various aspects of the Jeonnam area, such as its scenery and history. The museum also aims to be a contemporary art museum by building a collection that spans multiple genres, such as installation, sculpture, photography, and media art.

New Acquisition presents the works of Jeong Kyungja, Park Jongyeong, Na Hyun, Lee Jinhee, Lee Wonho, Kim Dongsuk, Park Chanmin, Kwon Sejin, Yoon-Hee, Song Eunyoung, In Choonkyo, Cho Haeyoung, Moon Inhwan, Lee Jeongrok, Lee Insung, Noh Juwhan, Yoon Sunhong, Min Byungkil, Yoon Junyoung, Choi Yoan, Son Junho, Yoon Seyoung, Sen Chung, and Min Byunghun.

Partial exhibition view of "New Acquisitions" at the Jeonnam Museum of Art, Gwangyang, Korea. (January 3, 2023 - March 26, 2023). © Jeonnam Museum of Art.

The JMA will hold solo exhibitions by local artists Ko Wha-hum and Song Phil-Yong and plans to seek out and support young artists who are actively working inside and outside the Jeonnam area through the “Jeonnam Young Artist Award” (working title) program.

The museum will also feature contemporary art exhibitions introducing both Korean and international artists. Garden of Poetry (working title) is scheduled to take place at the museum in conjunction with the Suncheonman International Garden Expo 2023. Set in Jeonnam literature, this exhibition will examine the mutual connection between art and literature through the works of media artist Yuri An; artist Lee Mae-Lee, who takes an archeological and anthropological approach to her works; Im Heung-soon, who works with film and video installation; and Taiwanese-American artist Lee Mingwei, who is known for his participatory installations. Another international exchange exhibition, Another Sea-Daeyanggi (渡大洋記) (working title), will reveal the journey of contemporary art through Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.

Other exhibitions include a solo exhibition by Richard Kennedy (b. 1985), an American artist whose works examine the queer African-American experience through visual art, composition, opera, scriptwriting, and performance. This year, JMA also plans to host an exhibition featuring the Lee Kun-hee collection and a special exhibition exploring the icon of a flower.

Under the slogan “Daegu and the World,” the Daegu Art Museum (DAM) aims to expand its global reach based on Daegu’s locality through nine exhibitions this year. As an art museum in an area that occupies an important position in the Korean modern and contemporary art world, the DAM, established in 2011, has been researching the history of its local art scene and connecting it to the global contemporary art world. This year, the museum intends to exhibit a number of works by established artists who have contributed significantly to the development of Korean contemporary art.

Exterior view of Daegu Art Museum, Daegu, Korea. ⓒ DAEGU ARTMUSEUM.

Water, Fire, Body, the first exhibition of 2023 and part of the Daegu Forum series, will be held from January 31 to May 14, 2023. The Daegu Forum series was first established in 2021 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the museum’s opening and carry on the experimental spirit of the Daegu Contemporary Art Festival (1974–1979). The series intends to examine major trends and issues in the contemporary art world and present the future direction of the museum through curated themed shows. 

The Daegu Forum’s second series, Water, Fire, Body, features the works of three artists: Kim Taek-Sang (b. 1958), who depicts light and color in his paintings; Yoon-Hee (b. 1950), who uses various materials in her sculptures; and Hwang Ho-Sup (b. 1955), who creates abstract paintings that resemble stardust. Around sixty paintings, installations, and sculptures by the three artists will explore the underlying value and ideology of Korean art.

Exhibition view of YOON-HEE's 'Spheric' (2022), "Water Fire Body" at Daegu Art Museum, Daegu, Korea. (January 31, 2023 - May 14, 2023). © the artist and Daegu Art Museum.

A solo exhibition by the artist Kim Youngjin (b. 1946) will be held at the DAM from May 30 to September 10, 2023, as part of the 2023 DArtist series. The DArtist series aims to investigate local artists in the Daegu-Gyeongbuk region who have maintained experimental and innovative artistic practices. Each year, the program selects one artist to hold a solo exhibition and research event and collects the artist’s archival materials. Kim Youngjin was one of the first artists to introduce video and installation art to the Daegu-Gyeongbuk region in the 1970s, making a significant contribution to local art history.

Artist Yun Suknam won the 2022 LEEINSUNG Art Prize, which was established in 2002 to honor the Daegu painter Lee In-sung (1912–1950). As part of the prize, Yun’s solo exhibition will be held from September 26 to December 31, 2023, at the DAM. Born in 1939, Yun is one of the first feminist artists to work with various genres, such as painting, installation, and sculpture.

Other exhibitions include a collection exhibition that will be held from June 20 to August 20, 2023, an exhibition featuring the Lee Kun-hee collection, a young artist exhibition, a participatory exhibition, and an October solo exhibition of American minimalist sculptor Carl Andre.  

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