Travel Highlights

      • K-Art Museums You HAVE to See

        • 07/14/2023


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  • “Eve” (Ahn Gyungsu, 2023) on display in the ARKO Art Center Archive Lounge (Credit: ARKO Art Center)

    One method of understanding a country’s culture is by visiting its art museums. Learning about the history preserved and special stories told through the artwork leads to a deeper understanding of the culture. From modern art museums to vibrant media art, the following spaces will have you losing yourself in the charms of K-culture!

    ARKO Art Center, a symbol of young, romantic K-art

    • ARKO Art Center’s outdoor lobby space
    • Outdoor exhibition “Amadeus Chair” (Daniel Schine Lee, 2023) (Credit: ARKO Art Center)

    ARKO Art Center is the most representative space for modern art culture in Korea. The red-brick building, designed by preeminent Korean modern architect Kim Swoo Geun, has been a landmark of the Daehangro area for over 40 years. Daehangro itself is at the center of youthful artistic culture in Korea, being located near various universities and filled with many small theaters.

    Throughout their history, ARKO Art Center has played an important role in keeping art accessible to all. To start, all exhibitions are free of charge, with many high-quality programs also available. In addition, the exhibition spaces are barrier-free, making them accessible to people in all stages of life. Beyond this, the art center aims to keep the number of exhibition materials and printed leaflets down to protect the environment. All these efforts have helped ARKO Art Center go beyond a simple space for art to transform into a welcoming environment for all.

    ARKO Art Center Exhibition: Memory•Space (April 14 – July 23, 2023)

    • Entrance to ARKO Art Center exhibition hall
    • “Transparent Walls of the Exhibition Hall are Dyed in Sienna Color” (Moon Seunghyun, 2023) (Credit: ARKO Art Center)

    The current exhibition, in celebrations of ARKO Art Center’s upcoming 50th anniversary, tells the history of the center as seen through the eyes of the participating artists. Each work of art allows one to see the past and the present of ARKO Art Center, and through this, the changes in modern Korean art over time. The exhibition features 23 artworks made by nine artists from a wide range of artistic genres, including spatial architecture, painting, and sound art. The exhibition hall guide is available as both a printed leaflet and a mobile download, while each art piece has a QR code to scan for a detailed description.

    Following the close of the current exhibition, the 2023 Invitational Exhibition, “Nho Wonhee: You Were There” is planned to open August 11. Nho is famous for her paintings that speak about social realities, allowing viewers to experience various lives previously unknown to them.

    ARKO Art Center

    • Address: 3, Dongsung-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 동숭길 3)
    • Operating hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11:00-19:00
      * Closed Mondays, January 1, the day off Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) & Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day)
    • Admission: Free
    • Website: (Korean only)

    BTS RM’s Pick! Space Lee Ufan at Busan Museum of Art

    Exterior of Space Lee Ufan, an annex of Busan Museum of Art (Credit: Busan Museum of Art)

    The aroma of art at Busan Museum of Art goes hand-in-hand with the salty sea air of Korea’s representative coastal city, Busan. The museum’s artwork aims to capture and recreate various relations, amazing experiences, and meaningful moments. Aside from the art, the museum also hosts meetings with artists, film showings related to the exhibitions, experience programs for children, and classes for future educators.

    The most popular attraction of Busan Museum of Art is the annex building, Space Lee Ufan, made even more popular after BTS leader RM visited. Lee Ufan is an outstanding artist and leader in the Korean art community. He was recognized by the Korean government for his contributions to the development of culture and art in Korea with the Geumgwan (Gold Crown) Order of Cultural Merit.

    Space Lee Ufan Exhibition Hall

    • “Dialogue 2015” canvas, natural stone
    • “From Line 1974” pigments on canvas (Credit: Busan Museum of Art)
    “Relatum – Narrow Gate 2015” natural stones, iron plates (Credit: Busan Museum of Art)

    Space Lee Ufan is one of just two exhibition halls in the world entirely dedicated to this famous artist, and displays the artist’s most memorable works from the 1960s to now. The two-story building showcases the four most famous sculpture works of Lee on the first floor, while the second floor houses 15 pieces from his “Dialogue” series. You can also see some of Lee’s work on display in the outdoor sculpture garden.

    Busan Museum of Art

    • Address: 58, Apec-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan (부산광역시 해운대구 APEC로 58)
    • Operating hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-18:00
      * Closed Mondays (the following business day if Monday is a public holiday)
    • Admission: Free (limited availability)
    • Website: (Korean, English)

    National Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art (MMCA)Cheongju

    Interior of MMCA Cheongju, Korea’s first storage-style art museum (Credit: MMCA Cheongju Art Storage Center Operations Team)

    The National Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art (MMCA) is Korea’s signature modern art museum. They operate four locations in Gwacheon, Deoksugung, Seoul, and Cheongju, with each location being a pillar of culture and arts in the area.

    MMCA Cheongju opened in 2018 as the fourth branch, and the nation’s first art storage-type museum. The open storage style creates the optimal environment for visitors to appreciate the vast multitude of items in the museum’s collection, like visiting a secret treasure vault. This open, seemly random display of items makes the art museum quite accessible to visitors who may be unsure of how to appreciate an art museum.

    MMCA Cheongju Exhibition: Open Storage (December 3, 2020 – December 31, 2026)

    • Open storage organized by period & material following reorganization
    • Open Storage as a Space Open for Anyone (Credit: MMCA Cheongju Art Storage Center Operations Team)

    The Open Storage exhibition underwent its first reorganization since it first opened, with the current display layout opening on December 3, 2020. The open storage displays 170 sculptures, categorized based on time period and material, earning the exhibition praise for their fun and interesting way of showing the artwork. Exploring the structure and function of the storage area is also fun, like getting a glimpse into a museum vault. The museum also offers a VR tour of the Open Storage, available through their website.

    National Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art (MMCA) Cheongju

    • Address: 314, Sangdang-ro, Cheongwon-gu, Cheongju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do (충청북도 청주시 청원구 상당로 314)
    • Operating hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-18:00
      * Closed Mondays & January 1
    • Admission: Free
    • Website: (Korean only)

    Become one with the art, 4 trending media art exhibitions

    Experience K-art through the unique medium of media art. More and more of these media art centers are popping up throughout the country, each one providing their own unique and colorful photo spots.

    Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do | Gyeongju Expo Grand Park’s Timeless Media Art

    “Record the Time: Samguk Sagi, Samgungnyusa” (Credit: Gyeongju Expo Grand Park) “Splendid Golden Kingdom: Golden Crown in Cheonmachong Ancient Tomb” (Credit: Gyeongju Expo Grand Park)

    Gyeongju Expo Grand Park is a theme park with a range of cultural content. Among these, Timeless Media Art is the most popular. The many media artworks are themed around Gyeongju and the city’s UNESCO World Heritages.

    Purchasing a ticket to Gyeongju Expo Grand Park provides admission to all of the park’s attractions, not just Timeless Media Art. With just one ticket, you can enjoy the exhibitions and experience programs at Gyeongju Expo Solgeo Art Museum, Gyeongju Expo Memorial Center, Natural History Museum, Asadal Sculpture Park, Tobot Story Museum and more.

    Gyeongju Expo Grand Park – Timeless Media Art

    • Address: 614, Gyeonggam-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do (경상북도 경주시 경감로 614 재단법인 문화엑스포)
    • Operating hours: 10:00-19:00
    • Admission (Gyeongju Expo Grand Park): Adults 12,000 won / Children (ages 3-18) 10,000 won
    • Website: (Korean, English)

    Tongyeong, Gyeongsangbuk-do | Dpirang

    • Media art exhibition of a mysterious forest
    • “Ancient Camellia” (Credit: Korea Tourism Organization

    Dpirang is a nighttime digital theme park located at Nammangsan Park in Tongyeong. The display uses various lights and the walls of the buildings themselves to create living murals that move. Telling the story of a forested mountain trail, the path stretches 1.3 km through up and downhill sections, so wearing comfortable clothing and shoes is very important.


    • Address: 29, Nammanggongwon-gil, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do (경상남도 통영시 남망공원길 29)
    • Operating hours: March-April & September 19:30-24:00 / May-August 20:00-24:00 / October-February 19:00-24:00
      * Closed Mondays, January 1, and the day of Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) & Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day)
      * Operating schedule subject to change based on local conditions; check before visiting
    • Admission: Adults (ages 19 & older) 15,000 won / Teenagers (ages 13-18) 12,000 won / Children (ages 6-12) 10,000 won
    • Website: (Korean, English)

    Seoul ┃ Gwanghwa Won

    Land of Life themed Experience-type media art (Credit: Korea Tourism Organization) Expression of running into the future through a gem stone motif (Credit: Korea Tourism Organization)

    There is a fascinating place hidden within Gyeongbokgung Station on Seoul Subway Line 3. It’s none other than Gwanghwa Won, a media art exhibition themed on healing and meditation. The space is relatively small, but still manages to show a range of artworks, from world-famous landmarks to interactive displays that react to footsteps. You can also talk about Korean culture with the AI version of Minho from SHINee at the AI Information Center opposite the exhibition hall.

    Gwanghwa Won

    • Address: Metro Museum of Art Hall 2, 130, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 사직로 130 경복궁역(3호선) 서울메트로미술관 2관)
    • Operating hours: 10:00-21:00, open all year round
    • Admission: Free
    • Instagram: @k_culture_square_official

    Jeju | Arte Museum

    Media art recreating beautiful nature (Credit: Korea Tourism Organization) “Eternal Wave” (Credit: Baek Jongsun)

    Arte Museum Jeju is located on the fantastic island of Jeju, but opens a portal to an even more beautiful and amazing world through media art. Each of the grand spaces is filled with scents and sounds to match the images on the walls so viewers really feel they have entered another realm.

    The most famous exhibition is “Beach,” creating the image of a never-ending sandy shore through the artful positioning of mirrors. This beach presents a prefect image regardless of weather or time. “Wave” is another display that feels quite real. You m ay find yourself flinching when the large wave appears to come crashing into the glass wall, breaking into white sea foam before your eyes.

    Arte Museum Jeju

    • Address: 478, Eorimbi-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do (제주특별자치도 제주시 애월읍 어림비로 478)
    • Operating hours: 10:00-20:00, Open all year round
    • Admission: Adults (born 1960-2004) 17,000 won / Teenagers (born 2005-2010) 13,000 won / Children (born 2011-2016) 10,000 / Preschoolers (born 2017-2019) 8,000 won / Infants (born 2020 or later) free / Senior citizens (born 1959 or earlier) 8,000 won
    • Website: (Korean, English, Chinese)

    More info

    • 1330 Korea Travel Helpline: 1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)

    * This column was last updated in June 2023, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check for updates before visiting.

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