National Museum shows new acquisitions

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National Museum shows new acquisitions

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Public museums in Korea have a long habit of keeping their collections a secret as the government imposes a surtax on luxury goods including certain artworks.
There is one exception to that rule: the National Museum of Contemporary Art, which is run by the government.
Every year, the museum puts on an exhibit of recent acquisitions. This year’s show began last Friday, and includes works added within the past three years.
One notable piece is “Voite en Valise” by Marcel Duchamp, a French Dada artist, who in his earlier work, “Fountain,” questioned the meaning of art with a porcelain urinal.
“Volite en Valise,” or a box within a suitcase, is an assemblage of photographs, drawings and miniatures of ready-made objects in a small box.
The box contains a number of his drawings including “Bride,” “Tu’m” and “A Large Glass: Virgin Stripped Bare By her Bachelors.” It also shows “L.H.O.O.Q,” Duchamp’s famous postcard image of Mona Lisa marked with a mustache.
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The show also has a number of paintings by the late Korean artist Kim Won (1932-2002), who was known for rural landscapes. Several works by modern craft artists, who had long been excluded from the mainstream art world, are also included.
The world collections feature “Melancholia” by Anselm Keifer and “Paradise” by Thomas Struth, a German photographer.
Much of the works in the museum’s collection have been gathered from fairs and major exhibits held in Korea. Up to 75 percent of the recent acquisitions are contemporary works produced after 1980.
Since 2003, the National Museum has drastically expanded its funding. Last year alone, the museum spent 5 billion won ($5.1 million) to buy 182 works, while another 33 were donated. The collections range from paintings to mixed media, crafts, photographs and prints.


by Park Soo-mee

The exhibition of new collections at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea runs through April 23. For more information call (02) 2188-6331. Admission to the exhibit is included in the museum entrance fee.
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