When the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (known as MMCA) opened its new, 560,000-square-foot location in November 2013, the 46-year-old art institution made a heralded return to the center of the capital. MMCA Seoul offers a wide array of art exhibitions, performances, movie screenings, and education programs; its opening effectively doubled the exhibition space of its heretofore main branch (since 1986) in Gwacheon, an hour’s drive from downtown Seoul.
MMCA’s rapidly growing collection includes modern and contemporary works from both established and emerging Korean and international artists, while paying special attention to the sometime overlooked genres of print, craft, photography, and new media. (A current exhibition featuring major artists titled Uproarious, Heated, Inundated: Commemorative Exhibition of the 70th Anniversary of Liberation: The Great Journey with the Citizens runs through October.) The three light-filled buildings of MMCA Seoul that have been retrofitted to create an open, fluid gallery space sit on the former site of the government’s Defense Security Command. For art lovers, it is optimally located for sightseeing and gallery hopping: Across the street is the historic Gyeongbokgung royal palace while it is also in the heart of Samcheong-dong, the city’s burgeoning hub for contemporary art galleries including the prestigious Kukje Gallery and Gallery Hyundai.
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