Art museums and galleries in Seoul

Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

8.6/10

The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art is a museum in Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea, run by the Samsung Foundation of Culture. It comprises two parts that house traditional Korean art and contemporary art. Museum 1 is designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta and Museum 2 is by French architect Jean Nouvel and Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas designed the Samsung Child Education & Culture Center.

Collection

Museum 1, designed by Mario Botta, houses a collection of traditional Korean art, of which 36 pieces are designated national treasures. Included in the collection are landscapes and folk paintings, traditional ceramics and porcelain, such as Celadon and Buncheong, a bluish-green traditional Korean stoneware. As well as 14th century daggers, crowns, earrings and ornaments; and Buddhist art, sculptures, paintings and manuscripts.

Two large volumes, a reverse cone and a simple hexahedral shape, form Museum 1. Mario Botta utilized terra cotta bricks on the building’s façade which creates not only a strong presence on the grounds but also creates a chameleon like façade which changes colors, and plays with shadows, with the changing intensity and angle of sunlight. The shapes and materials create a modern interpretation of Seoul’s history as a walled city and reference the traditional ceramic art inside.

The interior of Museum 1 includes a lobby, rotunda, and exhibition spaces. The core of the Leeum Museum is this basement lobby created by the reverse cone penetrating the ground. Museum 2 and the Samsung Child Education & Culture Center are all connected here. Museum goers begin and end their tours in this area. Above the lobby is the white walled rotunda. Spiraling down like a helix, the rotunda delivers natural light into the basement lobby and exhibition spaces. The exhibition spaces in Museum 1 are hexahedral. Visitors begin at the top and walk down visiting each of the four floors which house ceramics, swords, jewelry and other traditional Korean artifacts.

Museum 2, designed by Jean Nouvel, features modern and contemporary art from both Korean and foreign artists. Many famous artists such as Damien Hirst, Warhol, Rothko, Yves Klein and Donald Judd have permanent exhibition spaces. The basement levels of the museum face the sunken garden and gabion walls. The gabion cages are composed of iron and filled with rocks unearthed during the construction process. The sunken garden includes birch trees and ferns.

Seemingly floating in place, Nouvel’s creation personifies modern art’s constant growth, evolution, and challenge/inquisition of society. Nouvel used extra white glass and rusted stainless-steel, the first to do so, to create the exhibition boxes. Many tests were performed before the current black-filmed stainless-steel could be created. The freely arranged exhibition boxes penetrate the glass skin and allow for a more controlled exhibition space. Light and other factors can be readily controlled for each box. The main exhibition hall in Museum 2 is a completely open space without any supporting posts thanks to post-tension building techniques.

Rem Koolhaas was charged with designing the Samsung Child Education & Culture Center as well as the museum’s master plan. The main entrance into the lobby of Museum 1 is through Koolhaas’s glass structure. As they enter the museum, visitors follow along on a wooden ramp and pass under a pavilion, demarcating the threshold. He used pilotis which not only lighten the structure but also provide a view of the surrounding buildings and site. The skin of the three story outer building is composed of steel and glass. Inside, a mixing chamber was created between the glass wall and Black box and the placement of lighting, piloti and ramps. The Black concrete box holds different exhibits.

Located over the parking garage, the Sculpture Garden showcases sculptural exhibits. The garden consists of a long rectangular strip of gravel and vegetation and the wood deck which frames it. Recently two of Louise Bourgeois’s Maman sculptures were featured in the Sculpture Garden.

Publications

  • Korea Herald, 9 December 2010

A+U #422, 11/05 Archiworld, Culture, Project Type 9, Seoul, 2005 Arcspace

  • Dolcevita*, 06

Interni #552, 06/05 Sixty Six World New Architecture 2, 2006

See also

  • List of museums in South Korea

References

External links

Post a comment
Tips & Hints
Arrange By:
Ian Kennedy
2 February 2014
Contemporary art collect is excellent for Korea, but the well curated Korean art wing is the best. The top two floors of ceramics are especially amazing - the display treats each price as sculpture
Yang Keun Kim
10 May 2013
디지털가이드 사용하시면 좋아요~
Load more comments
foursquare.com
Location
Map
Address

742-6 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Get directions
Open hours
Tue-Sun 10:30 AM–6:00 PM
References

Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art (삼성미술관 리움) on Foursquare

Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art on Facebook

Hotels nearby

See all hotels See all
Ramada Seoul Dongdaemun

starting $0

Acube Hotel

starting $60

Ibis Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun

starting $75

K-Guesthouse Dongdaemun1

starting $30

Dongdaemun Duplex

starting $49

Travelers A Hostel

starting $32

Recommended sights nearby

See all See all
Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Namsan (Seoul)
South Korea

Nam Mountain (pleonastically Namsan Mountain or Mount Namsan) (lit.

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
N Seoul Tower
South Korea

N Seoul Tower is a communication and observation tower located in

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
National Museum of Korea
South Korea

The National Museum of Korea is the flagship museum of Korean history

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Namsangol Hanok Village
South Korea

Namsangol Hanok Village, also known as 'A Village of Traditional

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Namdaemun Market
South Korea

Namdaemun Market is a large market in Seoul, South Korea. The market

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Bank of Korea Museum
South Korea

|}}Bank of Korea Museum (Hangul: 한국은행 화폐금융박물관; Hanja: 韓國銀行貨幣金融博物館),

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Seoullo 7017
South Korea

Seoullo 7017, also known as the Seoul Skygarden or Skypark, is a

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Sungnyemun
South Korea

Sungnyemun or more commonly known as Namdaemun is a historic gate

Similar tourist attractions

See all See all
Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Metropolitan Museum of Art
United States

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is an art museum located on the eastern

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Wynwood Art Walk
United States

Wynwood Art Walk is a tourist attraction, one of the Art museums and

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Musée d'Orsay
France

The Musée d'Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, on the left bank of

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
J. Paul Getty Museum
United States

The J. Paul Getty Museum, a program of the J. Paul Getty Trust, is an

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Palacio de Bellas Artes
Mexico

Palacio de Bellas Artes (Spanish for Palace of Fine Arts) is the

See all similar places