KOREA SEOUL

SEOUL | Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art – 삼성미술관

August 12, 2015

SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관

SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관

^photo credit: Leeum Museum^

SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관

^photo credit: Leeum Museum^

SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관

^photo credit: Leeum Museum^

SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관

^photo credit: Leeum Museum^

SEOUL // LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART - 삼성미술관

^photo credit: Leeum Museum^

Before I jump around too much with Hawaii blog posts I thought I would finish up our last trip to Seoul. This one is a quickie as there isn’t a whole lot to say and as I found out after getting in trouble with the museum staff, you aren’t allowed to take any photos. More on that in the details…

The Leeum Museum was designed by three powerhouse architects: Mario Botta, Rem Koolhaas, and Jean Nouvel. Impressive, right? And all in one place, though technically not a collaboration on the same building. Each architect designed one of the three buildings comprising the three parts of the museum. Building 1 contained classical Korean Art, Building 2, contemporary, and the third building — referred to as a Child Education and Culture Center– housed temporary exhibits.

I am more of a contemporary arts person (and honestly probably more of a Western art person) but I found the classic art exhibits to be very interesting and surprisingly very contemporary in look and feel. Some stand out pieces were those that showed a juxtaposition between traditional and contemporary so as to demonstrate how one influenced the other. For example, a huge moon jar from the Joseon dynasty displayed beside “Dark Side of the Moon,” by Yee Sookyung; the traditional white porcelain vessel both contrasted and complemented the contemporary interpretation constructed of shards of discarded black pottery.

My very favorite works were by far the interactive installation pieces some of which were integrated into the architecture of the building. A walk down a stairwell and a ride in an elevator became an art experience. My most favorite piece in the museum, “Bells from the Deep,” by Lee Bul — which felt like walking into infinity — or a scene from Interstellar. (This is where I also got in trouble with the guard for taking a photo.)

Outside of Nam June Paik, Hiroshi Sugimoto (one of my fave photogs), and Ai Weiwei my knowledge of Asian artists is embarrassingly low. In Art school when we studied Asian art it was traditional stuff– ceramics and brush painting and religious icons — not the modern stuff. Asian artists often get left out of modern museum collections so it was nice to see an entire collection of work by Asian (and Western) artists in one place. Bonus points for the cool architecture.

NOTE: The Samsung video/audio guide had photos available for free download — all I had to do was tap my phone to the electronic device and instant transfer!. Downloaded photos have been credited as such above/

DETAILS

LEEUM, SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART – 삼성미술관 // DIRECTIONS:  From Hangangjin Station (Subway Line 6) Exit 1, walk straight for 100m towards Itaewon. Pass the school (?) and make a right turn at the first intersection and alley, walk up the hill for about 5 minutes. There are many signs in English clearly indicating the direction of the museum. // COST: 14000KRW for a daypass that includes audio guide (recommended) or 10000 adult / 2000 audio guide //  DESCRIPTION: Well-curated collection of focusing on traditional Korean and contemporary art. Some Western contemporary artists are also mixed in with the collection though not predominantly so. The collection is rather small, which I liked. It allowed me to really look at each piece instead of becoming overwhelmed trying to see everything. // FACILITIES: Gift shop is just ok. Koreans really suck at souvenir merchandising. Cafe off the lobby. // GOOD FOR: All ages. If I were short on time I would probably go straight to Building 2, especially if I had kids — there are a few installation pieces that are really amazing and interactive. There seem to be a lot of programs aimed towards children though obvious I did not check those out. // NOTES: Photography is not allowed except outside in the courtyard and (I think?) in the non-gallery spaces like the lobby and stairwells (??). It was a bit confusing because I saw many people blatantly taking photos (and TOUCHING the artwork) in the galleries under right in front of the guards and nothing was said to them. Meanwhile, I took a photo inside one of the art installations and got in trouble. I know, two wrongs don’t make a right but in most cases when I have visited a museum,  a ‘no photography’ sign typically pertains to a certain room in a gallery or a certain work of art, which is how I incorrectly interpreted the inconsistent signage at this museum. It confused me, and I’m easily confused. Anyway, now I know. No photos. Also – all bags, even purses — must be checked in (for free) at the cloak room, though they do allow you to keep your camera phone…just sayin’.

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