National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) is a contemporary art museum with the main museum in Gwacheon and three branches each in Deoksugung, Seoul and Cheongju. The museum was first established in 1969 as the only national art museum in the country accommodating modern and contemporary art of Korea and international art of different time periods.

Since opening its door in 1969, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Korea has lived through the history of Korean art. In the process, MMCA established itself as a representative institution of Korean modern art.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art (MMCA), also known as Gwacheon Contemporary Art Museum, is located in Gwacheon, South Korea. The museum was initially established in Gyeongbokgung on October 20, 1969, but was moved to Deoksugung in 1973. It was moved to its current location in 1986. Founded to contribute to the development of Korean contemporary art by systematically conserving and exhibiting artworks created since 1910, the museum’s area of 73,360㎡ spreads over three floors, and has an outdoor sculpture park occupying 33,000㎡. The motif of the architecture is that of a traditional Korean fortress and beacon mound, and the building has a unique spiral- formed interior where Dadaigseon, one of the most famous video artworks by Nam June Paik, is located.

The museum’s four branches, including Gwacheon (opened in 1986), Deoksugung (opened in 1998), Seoul (opened in 2013), and Cheongju (expected to open in 2017), each in its own way, will continue to carry out MMCA’s commitment to the art and culture of Korea by enriching the first-hand cultural experience of the viewing public.

The first branch of the MMCA was established in 1998 in Seokjo-jeon of Deoksugung (Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea), in order to further increase the museum’s accessibility for people living in the northern part of Seoul. The museum has four exhibition halls, rest zones and art shops, and the total area is approximately 3,428㎡.

Located within a historical site, MMCA Deoksugung will showcase modern art from Korea and overseas. In the heart of the city, MMCA Seoul will focus on introducing global contemporary art.

Boasting a superb natural landscape surrounding the site, MMCA Gwacheon will be devoted to various genres of visual arts such as architecture, design, and crafts.

The Seoul branch of the museum opened in November 13, 2013, next to Gyeongbokgung. Built on and next to the former Military Defense Security Command building, the architectural design adopted the madang (yard) concept, which successfully integrated the exterior and interior of the building to the surrounding environment. The madang also serves as a public leisure space as well as a space to hold outdoor artistic events and programs.

With its up-to-date art storage facility, MMCA Cheongju will fulfill the museum’s primary duty to collect, preserve, study, exhibit, and educate. Through its various locations, MMCA intends to function as a cultural platform that encourages communication and cross-pollination of contemporary art with other various disciplines of art, science, and humanities. MMCA’s foremost mission is to offer a culturally rewarding experience to its visitors. We will remain committed to this mission for many generations to come.

The collections of the main museum in Gwacheon includes around 7,000 artworks including works of contemporary Korean artists such as Go Hui-dong, Ku Bon-ung, Park Su-geun, and Kim Whan-ki. The museum has also gathered a substantial internationally recognized collection including artworks by Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immendorff, Marcus Lüpertz, Nam June Paik, Nikki de Saint-Phalle, Jonathan Borofsky, and Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Past exhibitions include the installation of Sinseon Play – Moon Ji Bang as a part of the Young Architects Program at MoMA and MoMA PS1 in 2014. In 2011, the MMCA hosted the exhibition The American Art, which was “the first occasion to exhibit the Collection of Whitney Museum, in Asia,” featuring artists such as Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns. Likewise in 2010, the museum hosted the exhibition Picasso and Modern Art, which was the first exhibition of collections from the Albertina Museum (Vienna, Austria) in an East Asian country. In addition to loan exhibitions, the MMCA has mounted special exhibitions of Korean art, such as Acquisitions in Korean Art 1960-1980, and Masterpieces of Korean Modern Art: Exploration of Modern History in 2008.