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Korean artwork gallery to debut at Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  November 12, 2012 04:15 PM

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The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston this month will open a new gallery featuring select Korean artworks alongside a related exhibit that highlighted by rare Korean Buddhist paintings.

The Arts of Korea Gallery and Divine Depictions: Korean Buddhist Paintings will debut on Friday, Nov. 16, according to a press release from the museum.

The museum said it will host a special activities series on the opening date from 3 to 9:45 p.m.

Korea Foundation Day” will feature gallery tours in Korean and English, a talk by artist Kang Ik-Joong, musical performances by the percussion group Gong Myoung, and the museum’s “Taste” café will serve a variety of Korean dishes, the release said.

The special programs will be free with museum admission, officials said. Admission is free for youths 17 and younger on weekdays after 3 p.m.

The Korean Foundation, which aims to broaden awareness of Korea and its people, co-sponsored and organized the events, according to the release. The foundation also has provided funding for three years of museum internships related to research and conservation of works in the museum’s Korean collection.

“Korea Foundation Day represents a unique opportunity for us to highlight the cultural achievements of the Korean people as well as unveil our new Arts of Korea Gallery and Buddhist paintings exhibition,” said a statement from Malcolm Rogers a director at the museum.

“It is a pleasure to be able to share the treasures of our renowned Korean collection with visitors on this special day and showcase the talents of Korean artists and musicians through a variety of presentations that will delight families,” he added.

The new Korean art gallery comprises objects from the Bronze Age to the present day, including Buddhist paintings, 11th to 13th century celadons and pieces of lacquer and metalwork, officials said. A touchscreen in the gallery, sponsored by Song Hye-kyo and Seo Kyoung-duk, features four short videos depicting traditional Korean ceramics production and decoration techniques. Newly-acquired contemporary ceramics and paintings, both Buddhist and secular, are on display on a rotating basis.

Next door to that gallery, the museum will display 10 rare Korean Buddhist paintings, complemented by one contemporary work. The paintings, on view through June 23, 2013, have not been displayed in many years, according to the release. Many of them were given to the museum by Boston collectors who brought them more than a century ago from Japan, where Korean Buddhist paintings were appreciated and stored in Buddhist temples. The exhibition, sponsored by the Dr. Robert A. and Dr. Veronica Petersen Fund for Exhibitions, focuses on Buddhist paintings of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910), some of which were commissioned by the royal family.

“Korea Foundation Day provides a very special experience for both people of different backgrounds and Korean-Americans to better understand the essence of Korea’s traditional and modern culture,” said a statement from Korea Foundation president Woosang Kim. “This kind of community event helps to boost interest in Korean culture in general, and enables people to experience and appreciate Korea through firsthand activities.”

To learn more about the museum’s new Korean galleries, click here and here, or browse more than 1,000 works in the museum’s Korean collection here.

The museum’s Arts of Korea collection is also featured in the newly published book “MFA Highlights: Arts of Korea” available online here or in the Museum Bookstore & Shop.

For more information, visit

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at
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