Women at the helm of Korea’s public museums

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Women at the helm of Korea’s public museums

With last month’s appointment of Chung Hyung-min and Kim Hong-hee as the directors of the National Museum of Contemporary Art and the Seoul Museum of Art, respectively, the heads of the three most important public museums in Korea are all women for the first time.

The other is Kim Young-na, 61, who will celebrate the one-year anniversary of her posting as the director of the National Museum of Korea later this month.

Asked about the so-called era of female museum heads, which is now the talk of the art town, SeMA head Kim said, “Well, we have different backgrounds from one another .?.?. no special common points except for that we are all women. So, the fact that it has become the talk of the town reflects the bitter reality that there are not yet many women in important positions in Korea.

“As a female director, I could do things that male directors have not thought of or have missed,” she continued. “It does not necessarily mean feminist exhibitions. I mean just different ways of thinking about the general operation of the museum.”

Meanwhile, Chung, 60, is scheduled to hold her first press conference since taking her post late this month.

She served as professor of Asian art history at Seoul National University from 1994. She also worked as director of the Seoul National University Museum of Art from 2006.

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