National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (국립현대미술관,國立現代美術館,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.

Gwacheon offers relaxation in nature, encompassing various visual art genres such as architecture, design, and craft, Deoksugung Palace, which looks at modern arts at home and abroad in the breath of history, Seoul in the city that introduces contemporary art, and works of art collection and preservation. In Cheongju, which is the birthplace, we will carry out our activities such as collection, preservation, research, exhibition and education more actively, and we will be reborn as a culture of culture where various arts such as complex art, science, humanities, etc. can communicate with contemporary art.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened in Gyeongbokgung Palace in 1969, moved to Dongguan Deoksugung Palace in 1973, and then opened a new chapter in Korean art culture by completing and opening an art museum with international scale facilities and outdoor sculptures on the current Gwacheon site in 1986. It is.

In 1998, the Deoksugung Palace Seokjojeon Hall, located in downtown Seoul, was opened as the Deoksugung Palace Museum, a branch of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea. In November 2013, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea, was built and opened in Sokak-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul where Korea’s military headquarters was located. We embody the cultural values of the future.

In 2018, we opened the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Cheongju, which reconstructed the former Yeoncho manufacturing window in Cheongju, Chungcheongbuk-do, and strives to foster them as a spot of art culture in the central region.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea has been operating as a responsible management agency since 2006.

Responsible administrative agency system should give administrative and financial autonomy to the organization and take responsibility for its operation performance for affairs that maintain the publicity and operate in accordance with the principle of competition and are required or have expertise to strengthen performance management. This is a system.

Since its first implementation in 2000, 50 agencies from 22 ministries have been designated and operated (as of February 2017).

Gwacheon-guan (main museum)
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 National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon was designed in 1986 by architect Kim Tae-soo.

It is a family-friendly museum that harmonizes tradition and modernity by applying the Korean traditional space composition method to modern functions.

Gwacheon is a visitor-centered art museum composed of eight exhibition halls utilizing the expertise of each field such as architecture, crafts, photography, painting, sculpture, media, and children’s art museum for children’s education and experience.

You can meet the artworks of nature in the outdoor sculpture hall, and make precious memories at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, where you can meet Korean modern art living in the indoor exhibition hall.

Deoksugung-guan (first branch)
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㎡.

Deoksugung Palace opened in 1998 in Deoksugung Palace, the first modern stone condition in Korea, to systematically form and develop the modern art of Korea and ultimately to realize the cultural identity of our nation.

Deoksugung Palace’s Stone Building, which houses the museum, is a representative building of modern Korean architecture, completed in 1938.

Deoksugung is a modern arts organization that focuses on modern art from Korea and Asia from the 1900s to 1960s, as well as the world.

Deoksugung conduct various projects such as research, research on modern art, exhibitions and collections related to modern art, development and operation of various educational programs, academic activities and publications, and international exchange of information related to modern art.

Seoul-guan (second branch)
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.

In the past, there was a small schematic post, Joseon Paik, Kyujanggak, and Saganwon. After the Korean War, it was located in the center of politics and culture with historical origins where the Armed Forces Capital Hospital and Kimusa were located.

It is a complex arts and cultural center equipped with facilities such as exhibition halls and education halls, digital information room, multi-project hall, MMCA film and video, and various exhibitions, movies, performances, education, etc. You can find various arts and cultures.

In addition, Seoul is surrounded by a courtyard, where the old Kimusa building and Jong-in’s parents are in harmony, and you can see Mt.

Facing Gyeongbokgung Palace in the center of Korea’s city center, Seoul aims to open an art museum with the highest priority for communication with domestic and foreign visitors.

Seoul Art Zone was created through the collaboration between the National Museum of Contemporary Art and Hyundai Motor Company. There is. Zone 1 (Gallery 1) is a space that continuously displays and sells works by Korean artists and their works, especially those promising in the field of crafts. We display and sell design idea products, and the 3rd Zone (Gallery 4, 5) sells textiles and fashion goods and domestic and international art books. It is a space where anyone can easily purchase and enjoy experimental products of artists linked to the museum exhibition.

Cheongju-guan (storage)
The third branch of the MMCA is currently under construction in Cheongju-si, Choongcheongbuk-do, South Korea, with its prospective opening in 2016. The purpose of the third branch is not only to conserve artworks, but also to train people in art conservation.

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Cheongju, formerly a tobacco factory, has been reconstructed in harmony with the surrounding landscape to preserve its historical and symbolic characteristics by retaining its original form, including its exterior and chimneys.

Cheongju Pavilion will be reborn as a space for ‘open’, ‘communication’ and ‘regeneration’ with a variety of contemporary art.

Cheongju Pavilion is the nation’s first collection-type museum that includes exhibitions and educational functions as well as a center for preserving specialized works and works of art.

Cheongju have specialized storage facilities that can safely manage works, planning exhibition rooms that will show various exhibitions at home and abroad, educational spaces, preservation science rooms for restoration of works, and art library archives.

In particular, the storage facility is intended to provide new experiences to visitors by creating ‘open storage’ and ‘visible storage’ where the concept of ‘exhibition’ was introduced.

In the exhibition hall, special exhibitions of the National Museum of Contemporary Art and contemporary contemporary art exhibitions are held. In the educational space, various art education programs for children, youth and citizens are held.

Cheongju also run the ‘Visible Conservation Science Room’ where you can see the process of preserving damaged art.

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.


The MMCA has various art education programs including professional education programs for curators, employees of museums, art teachers, and college students. The Children’s Museum is located in Gwacheon main museum, where programs for elementary students, disabled students and students from poor neighborhoods are held. There is also a special support program for young artists, called ‘Residency,’ in which the museum provides studios for selected young artists and holds art conversations among artists and art professionals.

Research and Conservation
The conservation center of the museum was first established in 1980. The center has been working to develop its modern techniques for conservation by holding exchange programs with overseas conservation centers. Currently, the center is divided into four professional departments: oil paintings, Korean traditional artworks, contemporary sculptures, and medium of artworks. Furthermore, the museum opened its ‘art research center’ in 2013, which focuses on the research of East Asian contemporary art.