South Korea Embarks on a Contemporary Art Museum Building Boom, Aiming to Open 186 New Museums by 2023

Since the past few years, Korean contemporary art has been solidifying its presence steadily in the global art scene. Following its growing international demand, South Korea is angling to become an international art & cultural hub. The Asian nation has unveiled a five-year plan designed to make its art and artifacts more accessible to the public, with its Ministry of Cu,ture, Sports & Tourism announcing an ambitious goal of opening an additional 186 museums by 2023.
Visitors look at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) in Seoul

That represents a 16 percent increase over the current number of cultural institutions, which would rise from 1,124 to 1,310 under the plan, according to the Korean Herald. The proposed expansion includes 46 art museums, adding to the country’s current total of 451 art institutions. Altogether, the increase will mean one museum for every 39,000 people, an improvement on the current ratio of one per 45,000 residents.

Jeong Seongjoon, Global warming, Where Are You? 140 x 200 cm, Oil on Canvas


Lee Jinhyu, ‘Dream- Voyage’, 130 x 193 cm, Oil on Canvas

One way that the government plans to fund this ambitious new initiative is by introducing a new tax on museum entry fees, scheduled to take effect July 1 of this year.

Son Hyunnook, ‘Dog’, Painted Steel

As a result of the program, the government hopes to nearly double the proportion of the population that engages with museums in the country, both through an increase in brick-and-mortar institutions and through improved and expanded websites and mobile apps. In addition, new virtual reality and augmented reality technology will be increasingly integrated into South Korean institutions, according to the proposal. The ministry will also work to expand its art conservation system from state-run institutions to regional ones. 

Lee Kayoung, ‘Full Moon’, 50 x 60.5b cm, Chinese ink on Canvas

As the art & cultural scene continues to become a global phenomenon in major cities around the world, “The government’s policy efforts will be focused on making museums and art museums more friendly and useful cultural facilities for the people,” said a ministry official, as reported by the Yonhap News Agency.


*extracted from artnet