Taking an office building constructed by architect Kim Swoo-geun in 1971, the space went under a transformation in 2014 to become the Contemporary Art Museum that it is today. As it was built by such respected architect, the original structure was left almost untouched—the building itself was preserved and treated as a piece of art. Although the building did take on an extension in 1977, it has low ceilings, narrow staircases, and windows of all shapes and sizes, as it was modeled after traditional building conventions. Inside the maze-like lair lies the well curated collection owned by domestic artist "Ci Kim" or Kim Chang-il, one of Seoul's most well-known art collectors. As the gallery is also equipped with a bakery, café, and restaurant completely incased in glass, you'll find plenty to occupy yourself with at Arario in Space, even if you are not very fond of fine art.
A three-story brick building stands inconspicuously at the entrance to Wonseo-dong. Were it not for a banner hanging from the heavy black door, it would be quite difficult to tell that it was an art gallery at all. Featuring emerging artists and preparing exhibitions one year in advance, they date back to 2000 when they initially opened in Insadong. The basement level and the first two floors make up an exhibition space that showcases experimental art while the third floor is a workshop for students and artists. A little out of the way, even for an exceptionally diligent tourist, art lovers seek out the Insa Art Space for themes unexplored elsewhere.
You might be thinking, “Why is there a museum for figures and figurines?” Well, many of us ‘normal’ people might be tempted to dismiss it as a place for the obsessed, but you might want to think again. Figure Museum W, located in Cheongdam-dong, is a place to either renew your love of or learn about a new potential hobby of collecting, building, and trading figure models. With a serious collection of models that range in price from the thousands to couple 100 million wons, it’s undoubtedly Seoul’s special mecca for dukhoos (people focused on a specific hobby or subject) of this sort. For those of us who consider ourselves ‘normal’, it will be an eye-opening experience in learning both the delicacies and grandiose of this art form. The 1000 or so models that are on display are all part of a private collection. The two co-owners of the museum are elementary school friends and have been avid collectors of figures and art toys for a while. They, along with two more friends, came together to create this special space within Seoul to display their belongings. Most well known animation characters from Korea, Japan and the US can be spotted here, all of which range in size. If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to stand next to Ironman and take a selfie, you’ll be able to do just that. Life-size figures include the Terminator (with the actual leather jacket Arnold Schwarzenegger wore), Ironman, Batman, Spiderman, the Hulk, and even the Joker. The most prized item, on the o
Sungkok Arts & Cultural Foundation was established in 1995. In homage to Mr. Sung Gon Kim, the late founder of Ssangyong Corporation, it was named after Kim's nickname, Sungkok. The museum itself was built upon his former home. This non-profit organization continues Kim’s support for education, arts and culture reflecting his philosophy: "national progress begins with the cultivation of bright minds." Divided into two halls, the museum has hosted various local and international contemporary artists along with genre-specific exhibitions including photography, fashion, design and video. One of the things that make this museum more appealing is the surrounding gardens. Consisting of around 100 different types of trees, this small urban forest has a walking path with impressive sculptures created by acclaimed artists like Arman, Gu Bonju and Suh Donghun displayed along the way. Located near the palatial site of Gyeonghuigung, the surrounding area also offers a tasteful atmosphere.