DEC  2009  [ Vol. 18, No. 12 ] Home | Contact Us | Korean | KF Home   
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Growing Number of Museums Abroad with Korean Galleries

5 Additional Projects Underway to Display Korea’s Culture and Arts
Lee Bang-bok
Culture and Arts Department
The Korea Foundation concluded support agreements with the Cleveland Museum of Art and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in the United States, and the State Museum of Oriental Art in Russia, Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Sweden, and the “Guiseppe Tucci” National Museum of Oriental Art in Italy for the establishment or renovation of their Korean galleries.

Still more new or renovated Korean galleries are to be opened at prominent museums in different countries including the United States and Russia, Sweden and Italy, thereby making Korean art and culture more accessible to local visitors. For this purpose, the Korea Foundation signed support agreements with five leading overseas museums – Cleveland Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, State Museum of Oriental Art, Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, and the “Guiseppe Tucci” National Museum of Oriental Art– under which program assistance will be extended for the establishment or renovation of their Korean galleries.

Enhancement of the Korea Brand
The Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio is one of the five-largest museums in the United States with more than 300,000 visitors a year. The museum’s outstanding collection of Asian artworks includes about 330 exceptional Korean artifacts thanks to active acquisition of Korean relics by Sherman Lee, a renowned Asian art historian who served as director of the museum from 1958 to 1983. With the Foundation’s support, the Museum intends to establish an independent Korean gallery, with a floor area of 130 square meters on its second floor. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, plans to expand and renovate its East Asian galleries by 2010. The Foundation and the Museum agreed to cooperate on the establishment of a Korean gallery, in order for the museum to provide a more balanced and diverse exhibition of Asian art for visitors.
In addition, the Foundation has reached an agreement with the State Museum of Oriental Art in Russia, which maintains a noteworthy collection of East Asian art, for extensive renovation of its Korean gallery. In order to integrate Korean sentiments in the exhibition space,
Dr. Lee Jae-jeong of Jeonju National Museum was dispatched from Korea in September. While meeting with the museum staff, Dr. Lee offered advice on the project design and display of art works, which include a document sent by Prime Minister Lee Yu-won, of the late Joseon era, to Li Hongzhang of Ching China that had been maintained among the museum’s Chinese antiquities.
The support agreement for the establishment of a Korean gallery at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm, Sweden, is especially meaningful since this year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Sweden. The museum’s new Korean gallery, which is slated to open in 2011, will help to make Korean culture and arts more widely known in the Scandinavian region. It is also expected that Korean arts and culture will be more readily accessible upon the establishment of a Korean gallery at the “Guiseppe Tucci” National Museum of Oriental Art in Rome, Italy. Meanwhile, the Woonhyung Lee and Korea Foundation Gallery was opened at the University of Michigan Museum of Art on March 28, 2009 with the Foundation’s support. Since its opening, the gallery serves as a venue to present the richness of Korea’s culture and arts to local residents.

Korean Galleries Abroad
Since its establishment in 1992, the Korea Foundation has implemented a variety of programs to support the efforts of distinguished museums abroad to establish and renovate their Korean galleries. Thus far, Foundation assistance has led to the opening of Korean galleries at 19 museums in seven countries, including such renowned institutions as the British Museum, Guimet Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
The Foundation has provided support to 25 museums in 11 countries for their Korea-related special exhibitions and educational programs, and invited some 125 curators from 23 countries to attend its annual Workshop for Korean Art Curators, over the past 11 years, in an effort to enhance their understanding about various fields of Korean art and to expand their intellectual networks. The Foundation is thus playing a lead role in the efforts to bolster Korea’s nation brand by working cooperatively with museums abroad and extending comprehensive support for Korean art exhibitions and cultural outreach programs.

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