Travel Guide

Solo in Seoul Part Two (Museum Hunting)

Angelynn
May 31, 2023

It is time to take a trip with me to some fun places here in Seoul, South Korea. Learn about various museums, art exhibits, and a few of the artists that make Korean art so wonderful. I will be going on an adventure to three exhibits and a fun place that will take you by surprise this week. The museums I will be visiting are Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Leeum Museum of Art, and The Beautiful Tea Museum which turns out to be much more than just a museum. My first stop was actually The Beautiful Tea Museum. It turns out it is not an actual museum. The Beautiful Tea Museum is a tea house that showcases different artist artwork each month.  

The Beautiful Tea Museum

The Beautiful Tea Museum has several items that have been collected and gathered information on that are related to tea. People that love tea should visit and learn about the various teas that are around the world. People can also get a sample of any tea they would like to try and it is just like a tea house, you can sit and have a cup of tea. The museum has over 110 different kinds of teas from all over the world. You can find tea from Korea, China, Japan, and Europe. They have tea that can help with several things such as a cough, or headache.

There is even tea that is made by Buddhist monks that you can try. The Beautiful Tea Museum has dessert that you can have with your tea. The desserts you can find there are Sweet Potato Rice Cake Square, Yellow Pumpkin Flavored Rice Cake Square, Green Tea Rice Bar that comes with six pieces, Black Sesame Rice Cake that comes with eight pieces, and Yak-Gwa. The Yak-Gwa is a Korean traditional sweet dessert that is fried and made of flour, honey and sesame oil with a little bit of cinnamon.

The Beautiful Tea Museum always has exhibits of ceramists, but this time at the museum they have beautiful works of art of flowers to go along with bowls, tea cups, and tea pots. This exhibit they had for the month of May was called Flower by Shin Hozune. This was Shin Hozune's first solo exhibition. If you like, you can purchase any of the ceramists’ creations.

Operating Hours:

11:30 – 20:00

Open Year Around

Admission Fees:

Museum is free

Homepage:

http://www.tmuseum.co.kr

Address:

03162  19-11, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul  

How to get there:

Subway Line 1, Jonggak Station, Exit Door Three (10 minutes walking)

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) really means dream, design, and play. They have several different things that it is used for. It holds all types of exhibits, fashion shows, conferences, other events that are for domestic and for people who are international.  This building has a strange shape of unique curves to it that gather all types of various people and photographers to photograph the building. The building was built by a famous architect named Zaha Hadid in April of 2009. This building was built after the Seoul Metropolitan Government decided to get rid of the stadium that was once in its place to make downtown Seoul feel more like an urban unique area. Dongdaemun Design Plaza is now known as a major landmark for Seoul, South Korea.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza has various exhibits you can visit. Some of the exhibits are free while others have a fee. I saw DDP Open Curating vol.28 <The Value Show: The Fat Niebus, The Invasion of the Next Generation Text>展, and I saw the David Hockney & British Pop Art exhibit. The Value Show: The Fat Niebus, The Invasion of the Next Generation Text is at Dongdaemun Design Plaza until June 18th. The Invasion of the Next Generation Text is free to enjoy.

The Fatniebus, The Invasion of the Next Generation Text won first place for the Dongdaemun Design Plaza open curating contest in 2023. The Fat Niebus, The Invasion of the Next Generation Text is actually a theme of theirs from the Wacky World known as the Wacky Bus. Their work always has a unique design that uses fonts to show its viewer an eccentric and colorful world. The Wacky Bus is showcasing the letters on the screen more than anything else in this exhibit. On June 2nd the CEO Choi Chi-young will talk more in detail about The Fatniebus, The Invasion of the Next Generation Text and the next set of characters born with a different perspective on the world and the next generation after that who may have a view of the world very differently than the generation before them.

The David Hockney & British Pop Art: 1960s Swinging London showcase is at Dongdaemun Design Plaza  until July 2nd. The David Hockney & British Pop Art: 1960 Swinging London exhibit is 20,000 won. It may not be free but it is an amazing art exhibit. There is so much to see at the David Hockney & British Pop Art: 1960 Swinging London exhibit. When you enter this area of Dongdaemun Design Plaza (동대문역사문화공원역) you feel like you are in the 1960s in London from all the various art you see on the wall and the colorful paint surrounding them.

Right after World War II everyone felt like it was time for a change and that change started in London. People started to become more creative and become artists, musicians and writers. Pop art culture really emerged and became a movement of vibrant works of art whether it was fashion, advertising, or even music albums. Artists at that time wanted to be more creative and work with bold, colorful and playful imagery that helped connect with the younger generation.

The Skater .N.Y 1982 David Hockney

Now let me tell you about David Hockney and why his art is being shown at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (동대문역사문화공원역).David Hockney is an 85 years old man who is an English painter, photographer, stage designer, and printmaker. He is very important to the pop art movement of the 1960; without David Hockney there probably would not be much of a pop art movement to begin with. He changed the way people think of art. David Hockney is known as an influential British artist of the 20th century. A lot of his work included a lot of self portraits as you can see from above as well as works of his friends and where he lived during the 1960s. David Hockney also created works of art that dealt with sexuality and identity to help people and artists be more open with who they are and artistic expression. Now the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (동대문역사문화공원역) does not just have artwork from David Hockney but fourteen other pop art masters including Peter Blake, Derek Boshier, and Richard Hamlition. The work of these artists helped make what pop culture is now and the artistic influence of others.

Sex War Sex Cars Sex 1965 Derek Boshier

This work of art “Sex War Sex Cars Sex” above was created by one of the pop art masters known as David Boshier. I found it to be very interesting to me. It was so colorful and reminded me of a classic comic book. Sex War Sex Cars Sex was created in 1965. David Boshier is a 86 year old man who of course is an English artist who works with various media such as painting, drawing, and sculpting. In the 1970s he decided to switch it up and do things with video but eventually he went back to painting. David Boshier's work is special in its own way. He was able to use pop culture to talk about the government, sex, technology and the war of all things with a bit of dark humor to top it all off. David Boshier has even worked with celebrities like David Bowie. Here is an article on David Boshier talking about working with David Bowie and an image of his work https://www.wmagazine.com/story/derek-boshier-david-bowie-exhibition-night-gallery.

Operating Hours:

10:00 - 20:00

Admission Fees:

Most exhibits are free

There are some that have a fee

Homepage:

DDP 홈페이지

Address:

281 Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul  

How to get there:

Subway Line 4, Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, Exit Door One (3 minutes walking)

LEEUM Art Museum

The Leeum Art Museum, known as the Samsung Museum of Art, was opened in 2004. Samsung Foundation of Culture owns Leeum Art Museum. The art museum has amazing architecture and was created by three internationally known architects Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel and Rem Koolhaas. This museum is big on showcasing the importances of Korean art. This museum is known to always have a collection of traditional Korean and contemporary art. They sometimes also have international modern art exhibits. They have always made sure to have Korean art that has great historical value so that the museum can preserve the art. This alluring art museum has over 15,000 works of art. While visiting the Leeum Art Museum I was able to see their traditional Korean art exhibit that had all sorts of ceramics. The ceramics were from the Joseon dynasty era. They were all so beautiful and unique in their own way. This is an exhibit you would not want to miss if you are in Seoul, South Korea.

This is just one of many beautiful works of art from the Leeum Museum of art. This is called Brush Holder Decorated with Dragons and Inscribed Poem. This is porcelain which is different from a normal ceramic. Porcelain is made from refined clay and it is heated at a temperature between 1,2000 and 1,400 °C. This art was porcelain with an open design that is painted with a  different type of blue called cobalt-blue that is under a transparent glaze. Brush Holder Decorated with Dragons and Inscribed Poem was created in the Joseon Dynasty around the mid-18th century. Brush Holder Decorated with Dragons and Inscribed Poem is in a private collection so it is outstanding that it is being shown for everyone to see. As I said before this is just one of many works of art in the Leeum Museum of Art, you just have to go there and enjoy the works of traditional and modern Korean art.

Operating Hours:

10:00 - 18:00

Closed on Mondays

Admission Fees:

Free

Some exhibits cost but you have to reserve a ticket online for those

Homepage:

leeum

Address:

60-16 Itaewon-ro 55-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

How to get there:

Subway Line 6, Dongmyo Station Station, Exit Door One (9 minutes walking)

Summary

Art museums are mainly for preserving, studying, and showcasing artworks from different periods, cultures, and genres. Museums all over the world play an important role in promoting artistic expression, cultural understanding, and historical appreciation. Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Leeum Museum of Art, and The Beautiful Tea Museum are just a few museums in Seoul. There are over a 100 museums in Seoul itself, while in all of South Korea there are over 500 museums. What you see here in this blog is just the beginning of diverse and captivating museum exhibits you can explore in Seoul, South Korea. Each museum that you can visit in Seoul, South Korea offers a unique perspective on Korean history, art, and culture making it a fascinating area for all, not just tourists that find art to be interesting. The museums in Seoul, South Korea are for people who want to be immersed in the country’s rich heritage that gives this world fantastic works of art and knowledge. While you have places like Dongdaemun Design Plaza that show you various works of art that can be seen internationally not just in Seoul, South Korea like the David Hockney & British Pop Art: 1960s Swinging London. If you really love art you can never get bored here in Seoul, South Korea. Thank you for reading this blog on museums in Seoul, South Korea and their exhibits. Stay tuned for what comes next, you will not want to miss it.