As part of its efforts to promote Korean art to the world, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA, Director Youn Bummo) has finalized plans for international partnership exhibitions to be showcased from 2021 to 2022, jointly with the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA),the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), and theCenter for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM) in Germany.
The MMCA will partner with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the representative art institution of the U.S. East Coast, to jointly plan an exhibition titled The Avantgarde: Korean Experimental Art of the 1960s to 1970s. Scheduled to take place in 2022 as a touring exhibition, the exhibition will feature works by major Korean performance artists, including Lee Kangso, Lee Kunyong,Lee Seung Taek, Kim Kulim, and Sung Neungkyung as well as activities of the Young Artists Coalition Exhibition (1967) and (1969~1980). The Young Artists Coalition Exhibition was the first attempts to showcase experimental art beyond the canvas in the Korean art scene, which had been centered on figurative painting and Informal focused on national exhibitions. The works of are significant in that it was a group that exerted preemptive efforts to overcome the absence of logic and analysis, which had been pointed to as the dilemma of Korean art of the times, through object, sculpture and event. The partnership exhibition, designed through joint research and cooperation between the two institutions will retrace the pulsating scenes of Korean experimental art in the 1960s to 1970s through in the form of exhibitions, publications, and symposiums.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), considered the largest encyclopedic museum on the West Coast of the United States, will present an exhibition on Korean modern art in the fall of 2022. This will mark the first exhibition on Korean modern art held in the West, as exhibitions putting on limelight this era had been previously held only in Japan. Signing an MOU as the co-organization of the exhibition, the MMCA and LACMA agreed to cooperate on preparatory research and planning. The exhibition will present major works by Korean modern artists spanning the 1900s to 1960s, offering glimpses into the era through oil paintings, Korean paintings, and even photographic archives. It is widely anticipated to be a pivotal event for introducing Korea’s dynamic modern history and art to the rest of the world.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Korea and China in 2022, the MMCA is also partnering with the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), to jointly plan exchange exhibitions featuring museum collections, as well as an international symposium. To
this end, the MMCA and NAMOC signed an MOU for exchange exhibitions, joint research, and personnel exchange. The MMCA will present representative works by Chinese modern and contemporary artists, including Xu Beihong, Lin Fengmian, Pan Tianshou, Fu Baoshi, Yu Fei’an, Wu Changshuo, Zhao Zhiqian, Qi Baishi, and Wu Zuoren, while the NAMOC will present key works of Korean modern and contemporary art.
The international art scene continues to take interest in Korean artists highlighted through solo exhibitions at the MMCA. The ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe in Germany expressed its interest Soungui Kim: Lazy Clouds, originally presented at the MMCA in 2019. In February of 2020, the MMCA and the ZKM signed an MOU that also included provisions for the ZKM’s 2019 retrospective on Peter Weibel to travel to Seoul. With these exhibitions scheduled to take place from 2021 to 2022, the two institutions are discussing other possibilities for a new type of international exchange, cooperating to accommodate the challenges in the realization of exhibition in the postCOVID-19.
Previously, the MMCA has been invited by the Fortuny Museum in Italy to hold a traveling exhibition of Yun Hyong Keun: Retropective (2018) during the Venice Biennale 2019. Youn Bummo, Director of the MMCA, notes that “MMCA will continue to introduce the distinctive features of Korean art to the rest of the world through partnership exchange exhibitions with other institutions.”