Seoul is quickly becoming a major Asian contemporary art centre. Seoul galleries have a deep gallery tradition of promoting local artists, which contributes to the city’s vibrant and exciting emerging art scene. Not only are the galleries and museums in Seoul excellent in terms of material, but they are also stunning on the outside, with many of them employing award-winning architects to design their rooms.
The city’s oldest art gallery is Gallery Hyundai. It was established in the 70s and is located just off Samcheong-ro, the heart of Seoul’s art scene. Throughout its illustrious past, the gallery has showcased the work of established Korean artists such as Park Soo Keun, Joong Seop Lee, and Dai Won Lee, thereby expanding the Korean art market. The gallery also has two locations in Sagan-dong and one in Gangnam, as well as the Dugahun Gallery (just behind the Gallery Hyundai New Space), which is an art space/wine bar/restaurant housed in a traditional Korean hanok.
Address: 14 Samcheong-ro, Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Hyoja-dong, located on the other side of Geongbokgung Palace, is a historical district that is quickly developing into an artistic hub to rival Samcheong. Gallery FACTORY, a small but punchy avant-garde space, has established itself as a steadfast presence on the city’s advancing art scene in this location. Bora Hong founded Factory Arts & Crafts in 2002, but when it relocated to its new location and changed its name in 2005, the gallery narrowed its original broad emphasis on exhibiting cutting-edge art. It has worked hard since then to increase audience engagement through seminars and talks, as well as through art consultation, public art initiatives, and publications.
Address: 15 Jahamun-ro 10-gil, Cheongunhyoja-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
PKM Gallery, which has its main space in the Samcheong district, is another major player in the city’s cultural landscape. PKM Gallery, founded in 2001 by Park Kyung Mee, who also commissioned the Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale that year, has established a strong international stance, showing at art fairs such as Art Basel, Art Hong Kong, and Art Fair Tokyo, as well as opening a second space in Beijing’s Caochangdi art district in 2006.
Address: 40 Samcheong-ro 7-gil, Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
The theme of Artside Gallery is on contemporary Chinese art and artists. Artside, which was established in 1999, introduced Korean audiences to artists such as Wang Guangi, Yue Minjun, Zhou Chunya, Zeng Fanzhi, and Zeng Hao. Since then, the gallery has played a pivotal role in the creative exchange between Korea and China, garnering international attention for hosting the country’s first solo exhibition of artist Zhang Xiaogang. Artside opened a gallery space in Beijing in 2007, and moved its Seoul gallery to Hyoja-dong in 2010.
Address: 33 Tongui-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul