Gallery’s menu: boiled egg and landscape

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Gallery’s menu: boiled egg and landscape

Though it doesn’t display every piece of modern art, the place’s name ― Total Museum of Contemporary Art ― makes sense. The name originates from the gallery’s goal of inserting visitors into a creative context.
To promote its 30-year history, the museum is presenting “D.I.Y. Do-it-yourself: Beyond Instruction,” a series of exhibits featuring its most prized collections as well as recent acquisitions.
Visitors not only gaze at artwork, they participate in the works’ making. For instance, “Mobile Washroom” is a wooden box restricted to males who can wash their clothes inside.
In one corner of the gallery, life-size Chinese chess pieces are scattered about. The curator, Lee Young-chul, has created a chessboard on the floor with black tape, where people can play a game.
“The purpose of this exhibit is to create a mobile, dynamic exhibition,” says Mr. Lee, who is also a professor at Keimyung University. “We want people to interact with and become involved in the artwork, you know?” he says. “Not just observe, but partake.”
Food abounds in nearly every corner and hallway of the gallery -- bowls of strawberries, dishes of crackers, boiled eggs and rice cakes. Those on hand can have a bite as they study an abstract. “I want people to have a good laugh when they come here,” Mr. Lee says. “I like creating fun.”
The gallery is filled with various art forms: architectural models, photographs, paintings, engravings, display art, pop art, tapestries, furniture, objets d’art and machines.
More than 70 artists from Korea and abroad have their works on exhibit at the gallery.
Sections of the gallery bear such titles as “Bird’s-eye View,” “Moving Art Shop” and “Library,” the latter where artbook catalogs from past exhibitions are on display. In the “Garden of Equality” section, works by famous artists -- both nationally and internationally -- adorn the walls, from Dennis Oppenheim and Jonathan Borovsky, to Julian Schnabel and Hong Woo-hyeon.
When “D.I.Y. Do-it-yourself” opened last week, the art critic Kim Hong-hee, the sculptor Jeong Bo-won and the painter Kim Goo-rim were among the gallery’s many visitors.

by Choi Jie-ho

The gallery is located in Pyeongchang-dong, northern Seoul, and is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. It is closed Mondays.
The exhibition runs through July 13.
For more information, call (02) 379-3994 or visit www.totalmuseum.org.
The Total Museum of Contemporary Art is a nonprofit gallery. Since its opening in 1977, the gallery has gained a reputation as a patron of avant-garde artists.

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