Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art turns 50

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul


Yun Bunmo, the recently appointed director of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, has announced a set of aims for the future of the Korean institution. As the museum celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, Yun has expressed his hopes to cement the museum’s role as ‘a globally open museum that shares cultural arts with the world’ and one that creates ‘a more compassionate and imaginative society through art’, through collaborations with other institutions such as the National Museum of Korea and the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History; by ‘dismantling the boundaries of generation, genre, and region’ in order to improve accessibility to wider audiences; to ‘expand the spectrum of discourse’ on Korean art history and find opportunities for interaction with North Korean institutions; develop its programme of international artists’ and touring exhibitions; and to ‘reinforce its role as a research institute’ by formalising Korean modern and contemporary art history through a regular series of projects involving its archive, education programmes, exhibitions and publications.

MMCA now includes four venues in Gwacheon, Deoksugung, Seoul, with the most recently opened in Cheongju, which also houses a preservation centre. For its 50th anniversary, MMCA will present an international symposium ‘What Do Museums Change?’ in June, which will question the social role of museums, and a large-scale exhibition titled The Square (November 2019–March 2020), presented jointly by MMCA Gwacheon, Seoul, and Deoksugung to commemorate the museum’s fiftieth decade.

In a statement Yun Bummo announced, ‘The MMCA is reinforcing its public service duty by demonstrating Korean art’s identity and strengthening cooperative networks with diverse regions to emerge as a globally prominent museum beyond an Asian art central,’ and expressed his vision to ‘make MMCA a friendly, open, fun, yet systemised museum.’

11 March 2019