March 2017 marked the moment when the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, one of the top private art museums in Korea, began to falter, signaled by the sudden resignation of its director Hong Ra-hee, wife of the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee. Her influence in the Korean art scene had been dutifully noted for over a decade since the museum's founding in 2004.
Hong's decision came after the arrest of her son and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on charges of bribery in a political scandal involving former President Park-Geun-hye.
This sudden managerial vacuum led the art museum to call off all scheduled thematic exhibitions, with only its permanent collection of antiques and contemporary art on display ― a tentative state that ended up lasting for over four years. It even had to temporarily close its doors in February 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep the country.