April 23, 2024

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art Receives Generous Gifts to Support Korean Art Initiatives at the Museum

The Korea Foundation and the Samsung Foundation of Culture have provided major support to establish The Korea Foundation and Samsung Foundation of Culture Curatorship for Korean Art, while a significant gift from Met Trustee Michael B. Kim will provide support for acquisitions.

(New York, September 21, 2023)—In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Arts of Korea gallery at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum held a ceremony yesterday to commemorate the generous support that it has received from The Korea Foundation, the Samsung Foundation of Culture, and Michael B. Kim and Kyung Ah Park to support Korean art initiatives at the Museum. Together, these gifts will strengthen the presentation of Korean art in the Museum, support collaborative scholarship and educational programming, and establish The Korea Foundation and Samsung Foundation of Culture Curatorship for Korean Art. Eleanor Soo-ah Hyun will serve as the position’s first incumbent, assuming the title of The Korea Foundation and Samsung Foundation of Culture Associate Curator for Korean Art.

Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French Director and CEO, said: “We are grateful to continue our collaboration with The Korea Foundation and the Samsung Foundation of Culture. The two foundations have been longtime supporters of Korean art initiatives at The Met, and this gift will advance the Museum’s commitment to sharing the arts of Korea with a global audience. We also extend our gratitude to Michael B. Kim and Kyung Ah Park for their generosity, which will be transformative in building the Museum’s Korean art collection.”

Kim Gheewhan, President of The Korea Foundation, said: “We are pleased to continue 25 years of partnership by launching a new endowed curatorship for Korean art with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Samsung Foundation of Culture. This position is particularly meaningful to us as the first endowed curatorship for Korean art funded by The Korea Foundation. We look forward to many people having the opportunities to appreciate Korean art at The Met through Korea-related exhibitions and events.”

Moon-Hyung Lyu, CEO of the Samsung Foundation of Culture, added: “On behalf of Samsung Foundation of Culture, I am very pleased to continue this partnership, which is expected to catalyze further exchange of ideas and programs. We hope this will create a solid foundation for viewers to gain a new appreciation and understanding of Korean art.  As an extension of our long legacy of supporting The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I am very grateful to contribute to the development of the Korean art program with The Korea Foundation.”

Michael B. Kim, Met Trustee, said: “We are honored to support a world-class collection of Korean art at The Met to share with its global audience.”

Korean Art at The Met
The Met opened its Arts of Korea Gallery in 1998 with generous support from The Korea Foundation and the Samsung Foundation of Culture through the KF grant and The Kun-Hee Lee Fund for Korean Art. The gallery was designed by architect Kyu Sung Woo. Highlights of the Korean art collection are celadon ceramics and Buddhist paintings of the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) and porcelain and lacquer of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). Along with changing displays of works of art from the collection, the Museum periodically presents thematic exhibitions featuring loans from collections in the United States and abroad, providing an overview of Korea’s artistic and cultural heritage.

Critically acclaimed and popular special exhibitions of Korean art at The Met in recent years include Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom (2013–14); Korea: 100 Years of Collecting at the Met (2015–16); Splendors of Korean Art (2016–17); Diamond Mountains: Travel and Nostalgia in Korean Art (2018); and Shell and Resin: Korean Mother-of-Pearl and Lacquer (2021–22). Currently on view in The Met’s Arts of Korea gallery is Jegi: Korean Ritual Objects (through October 15, 2023), which features the various types of ritual vessels and accessories that were used in Korean ancestral rites (jesa), as well as the kinds of musical instruments played at state events.

This fall, The Met will open Lineages: Korean Art at The Met (November 7, 2023–October 20, 2024). The exhibition will celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Met’s Arts of Korea gallery and showcase highlights of the Museum’s collection paired with important international loans of Korean modern and contemporary art. This juxtaposition of historic and contemporary artworks—from 12th- and 13th-century celadons to futuristic cyborg sculptures made in the 2000s—displays the history of Korean art in broad strokes through four intertwined themes: lines, people, places, and things. Featuring 30 objects, the exhibition fosters a dialogue of ideas that have resonated across time and bound artists together.

The establishment of and program for the Arts of Korea gallery have been made possible by The Korea Foundation and The Kun-Hee Lee Fund for Korean Art.

Jegi: Korean Ritual Objects is made possible by the Lady Dasher Sojo Fund.

Lineages: Korean Art at The Met is made possible by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, The Republic of Korea (MCST).

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