MMCA to open fifth outpost in Daejeon
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of South Korea (MMCA) will open a branch in Daejeon, the country’s fifth largest city, located in the central lowlands. The outpost is expected to open in the first half of 2026 and will be the museum’s southernmost and also its fifth, following two in Seoul and one in Gwacheon and Cheongju.
The news was revealed by MMCA director Youn Bum-mo, appointed to the post in 2019 and reappointed in February by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Youn noted that the project is in the planning stage, with construction expected to begin in 2023. The new branch is to occupy the modernist 1932 structure that once served as the main building of the Chungcheongnam-do provincial government.
Youn said the Daejeon outpost will be used for storage, as is the Cheongju branch, and will operate as a kind of “art hospital” as the institution continues to research. ways to preserve works through the use of big data and artificial intelligence.
The construction of the museum constitutes the second three-year plan defined by Youn since taking office as director of the MMCA. The first plan was centered on the restoration of the colossal video tower The more the better by Nam June Paik, located at MMCA Gwacheon. Youn told the Herald of Korea that the Paik project was coming to an end. “As for Nam June Paik’s work, we will complete the test in a few months and hold an illumination ceremony in September,” he said. “The video tower will then operate at designated time slots.”
According to Youn, Daejon Outpost won’t be MMCA’s last. “We will continue to expand our sites across the country after Daejeon,” he said. Youn also promised collaborations with international museums aimed at raising the profile of Korean art around the world. Among those to come are “MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2021” by artist duo Moon Kyung-won and Jeon Joon-ho, which will visit Japan’s Museum of Contemporary Art of the 21st Century in Kanazawa in May; “2022 MMCA Asia Project in Documenta Kassel 15”, which will be held at Documenta 15 in Kassel in July; and “The Space Between: The Modern in Korean Art,” a joint exhibition between the MMCA and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that will open at the latter in September. An exhibition of the work of contemporary Korean ink and wash painter Park Dae-sung is to be held at Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, New Hampshire, in the fall of 2023, and an exhibition highlighting the art South Korean experimental film from the 1960s and the 70s will be launched at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York the same year.