“To the World through Art” National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s newest exhibition.

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Have you ever wondered if museums keep pieces of art no one has ever seen? Such is the case of the new exhibition with never seen before work arts at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Cheongju.

2022, MMCA

To start New Year off on the right foot, the MMCA (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of South Korea) has announced a new exhibition in Cheongju, one of its four centers in South Korea. This exhibition holds 104 works of art from 96 highly acclaimed artists, pieces acquired from the 1970s to the 2000s.


The exhibition is focused on this period of time because the art collection period of the MMCA dates from approximately 1970, one year after its foundation. The acquisition of artistic material for the MMCA had its highs and lows since historical records (Article of Chosun Ilbo – November 1984) lays out the little budget that the museum had for acquiring works of art. 

It was not until the 1988 Olympics in Seoul that the picture began to improve. Due to the attention and spotlight sparked by the Olympics, the government seized the opportunity to host several cultural events, which soon became international. Such a spotlight represented a 180º direction not only for the MMCA but for South Korea itself. The 1988 Seoul Olympics would soon be called “The Cultural Olympics” or as I like to refer to them, the Olympics of Arts and Culture.  

Among the donated pieces of art between this period and the post-Olympic period, we can discover symbolic pieces of art that portray this stage, such as the famous  sculpture of George Segal, “Girl on a bed.”

George Segal's "Girl on a Bed 3" (1973), purchased in 1994 / Courtesy of MMCA

“For this exhibition, the museum has focused its attention on its international collection, especially paintings, and most of them have never appeared before the public. Looking at the works of art acquired from the late 1970s to the 2000s, it is a kind of time travel,” said curator Lee Hyo-in during a recent press. 

“To the World through Art” is not arranged by style or thematic categories styles, it focuses on the background and facts that precede these pieces of art, making this exhibition much more significant. 

2022, MMCA

The MMCA Cheongju will hold the exhibition “To the World Through Art” that holds acquisitions from the 1970s to the 2000s. “To the World Through Art” has 5 different sections: 

  • “Overseas Artists Visiting Korea,” 
  • “Art Communication and Exchange at the Global Level,” 
  • “The World Gazing through Art,” 
  • “Seoul to the World, the World to Seoul” 
  • “Art, a Window to the World.”


Where and when can I find it? It will be available from January 20 to June 12th of this ongoing year. The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Cheongju 314, Sangdang-ro, Cheongwon-gu, Cheongju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do Province. 

How can I get there? Taking the Express buses 921 or 111 or intercity buses 511 or 747; get off at Cultural Industrial District.

Where can I look up for more information? https://www.mmca.go.kr/exhibitions/exhibitionsDetail.do?exhFlag=1 

If you like going on museum dates or tours and you find yourself unavailable to attend them because of the distance, take a look at Google´s Art and culture website and check the online exhibitions museums available on their website. In such case, take a look at The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Google Arts and Culture on their website: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/national-museum-of-modern-and-contemporary-art-korea 

Written by: Esly Monjaraz

Edited by: Angie Salavarria

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