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May 29 2020

South Korean Museums Facing Second Round of Closures

by Charmaine Kong

Exterior of Seoul Museum of Art. Image via Seoul Museum of Art’s Facebook page.

Less than one month since South Korean museums and art galleries reopened on May 6, the country is yet again shuttering public spaces in the greater Seoul area for the next two weeks, effective today. The move follows the highest daily surge of Covid-19 infections in seven weeks on May 28, bringing the national tally to 11,402 confirmed cases and 269 deaths. The majority of the 79 new reported cases were from the Seoul metropolitan area.

This second wave of infections prompted health minister Park Neung-hoo to reverse the previous notice for the re-opening of public facilities by declaring a closure of cultural institutions in Seoul and adjacent areas—including Incheon and Gyeonggi Province—which will remain in place until June 14. Affected spaces, among others, include the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), with three of its four venues—Seoul, Deoksugung, Gwacheon—closed from today, while the Cheongju branch remains open via advanced booking. In line with government protocols, Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) has also closed, after its re-opening on May 6.

Apart from Gallery Hyundai which has announced the early closure of part one of its 50th anniversary special exhibition “HYUNDAI 50,” originally set to conclude on May 31, updates on the re-scheduling of activities for many art institutions are yet to be confirmed as organizations adjust to the new circumstances. These include MMCA Seoul’s group exhibition of Asian artists “Looking for Another Family,” set to run until August 23, Yun Hyong-keun’s solo paintings exhibition “1989–1999” at PKM Gallery which was scheduled to finish on June 20, Whistle Gallery’s upcoming solo exhibition in June spotlighting Min-ha Park, and Kwon Kyung Hwan’s “Opportunity” at One and J. Gallery, slated for June 11–July 12. 

Charmaine Kong is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.

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