Tuesday, January 2, 2024

A Map of South Korean Art Museums, Galleries, Sculpture Parks, Project Spaces, and More

Want to see art in art-rich South Korea? Read on. A brutal reality for the art tourist—for any tourist—is that Google Maps does not work very well here. It offers neither driving nor walking directions, and for public transport, it will present only limited options. What is the non-Korean speaker to do? Kakao Maps and Naver Maps are the local, robust alternatives, but they take a little practice and have some quirks. That is true of Naver, especially, for which some rudimentary knowledge of Hangul, the Korean alphabet, is useful. (Type "leeum" in English into it, and you may get directed to a wedding planner, a textile seller, or another business somewhere in Seoul, rather than the august museum started by the Samsung family in the Hannam neighborhood.)

I recommend Kakao for a first-time visitor, but Google Maps is still helpful for getting one's bearings, and its listings have improved in recent years. Above is a map aimed at helping to smooth the process of locating art venues and perhaps planning itineraries in the country. (Just do not try to use it to get directions.) It is far from complete, especially beyond Seoul, but it aims to be a solid primer to key outfits—big and small, mainstream and off the wall, proudly blue chip and pugnaciously nonprofit. Only places that I have visited are listed, and I strive to keep locations up to date, but please consult officials websites to make certain that you do not show up at an empty storefront. (If that happens, there will invariably be a good restaurant nearby, at least.)

If I can assist with anything, please drop me a line.


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