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South Korea

Timing

8 days | October 7–14, 2022

Summary

Amid ancient culture and urban innovation, South Korea has emerged as a cultural powerhouse. On this eight-day, art-forward tour led by Andrew Russeth, former ARTnews executive editor and current Seoul resident, you’ll explore Korean culture and discover why the country’s rising art scene is captivating a global audience. Visit Seoul’s top art museums including the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMa) and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA). Explore the work of iconic artists, such as Kim Whanki and Nam June Paik, alongside emerging artists showcased in the many private galleries across the city. Learn about Korea’s ancient history at the National Palace Museum of Korea and Gyeongbokgung Palace while also immersing yourself in Korean traditions by participating in a hanbok experience. Take a day trip to Museum SAN (Space Art Nature) where architecture, art, and nature live in harmony. Finally, you’ll wrap up your journey with a private dinner at the Korean Furniture Museum, a time capsule of life during the Joseon era (1392–1910).

Highlights

  • Dive into South Korea’s fast-rising art scene with visits to the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA), the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul, and special access to private art galleries showcasing emerging Korean artists.
  • Learn about Korean visionaries Kim Whanki, a pioneer in abstract art, at the Whanki Museum, and Nam June Paik, founder of video art, at the Nam June Paik Art Center.
  • Experience ancient Korean culture with visits to National Palace Museum of Korea and Gyeongbokgung Palace and be delighted by traditional Korean meals such as gogigui (Korean BBQ).
  • Venture to the serene Museum SAN (Space Art Nature), peacefully hidden in the mountains of Wonju. Here you’ll take a guided tour of the grounds with a museum representative, examine the work of James Turrell, and participate in a private meditation class.
  • Enjoy a private tour and dinner at the Korean Furniture Museum in Seoul where you’ll experience the way Korean nobility lived during the Joseon era.

Itinerary

Friday, October 7 Welcome to South Korea

Arrive in Seoul, the heart of South Korea. Transfer from Incheon International Airport to your centrally located hotel in the Myeong-dong district. Later, gather with Andrew Russeth, your ARTnews representative, and fellow ARTnews travelers for a welcome dinner at the hotel.
Included Meals: Dinner

Saturday, October 8 Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul

Begin your journey in the Samcheong-dong neighborhood, where Korean art and traditional culture collide. This morning, you’ll visit the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul, which houses both Korean and international, and recently received a donation of more than 1,000 works from the storied collection of former Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Bukchon Hanok Village, home to hundreds of traditional houses (hanoks) dating back to the Joseon dynasty. In the afternoon, visit local galleries for a closer look into the neighborhood’s contemporary art scene. For dinner, enjoy a modern Korean menu. With more than 30 restaurants in Seoul having received Michelin stars, the city is quickly becoming a top contender for food lovers everywhere.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Sunday, October 9 Seoul Museum of Art and the Whanki Museum

Join Andrew Russeth for a talk on the contemporary art scene in Korea before departing to visit the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA). The SeMA building, which houses a major Nam June Paik installation alongside other permanent and rotating exhibitions, originally housed the Supreme Court of Korea before becoming an art museum. For lunch, enjoy the experience of gogigui (Korean BBQ) where traditional banchan (small side dishes) will be served alongside top-shelf meats that are grilled to perfection on your table’s built-in grill. After lunch you’ll learn about Korean artist Kim Whanki at the Whanki Museum. Whanki is hailed as a pioneer of abstract painting in Korea. Afterwards, enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Monday, October 10 Traditional Korea

Learn more about Korea’s history and traditions at the National Palace Museum of Korea, which houses thousands of artifacts and treasures of the Joseon Dynasty and the Korean Empire. After lunch nearby, you’ll experience dressing in a Korean hanbok, a traditional South Korean outfit worn during traditional events such as festivals and ceremonies. Take photos around the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of the five grand Joseon palaces in Seoul. Dinner this evening is at leisure.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Tuesday, October 11 Nam June Paik Art Center

This morning, you’ll learn about another iconic Korean artist and global visionary, Nam June Paik, at the Nam June Paik Art Center in Yongin. Born in Seoul in 1932, Paik fled Korea to Hong Kong during the Korean War, studied in Japan and Germany, and later immigrated to the United States. A truly transnational artist, he is recognized as the “Father of Video Art.” For lunch, enjoy galbi, famous Korean short ribs, a specialty of the neighboring Gyeonggi province. Then, visit local galleries where you’ll continue to discover emerging Korean artists. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Wednesday, October 12 Museum SAN (Space Art Nature)

Travel outside of Seoul, through scenic landscapes, to Museum SAN (Space Art Nature), where the work of James Turrell, recipient of the National Medal of Arts (2014), is housed in a dramatic Tadao Ando building. Meet with a museum representative for a private tour of the museum and grounds. After lunch at the Café Terrace, join a meditation class in the Meditation Hall. The 1423-square-foot dome was first opened on the 5th anniversary of the museum and is intended to be “a place enabling visitors to retrieve power to live on.” Return to Seoul relaxed and refreshed for an evening at leisure.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Thursday, October 13 A Day for You

Our last day in Seoul is for you to spend as you please. ARTnews readers might like to visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the 160-mile no-man’s land established in the 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement as a division between the two Koreas. Or, for a more active day, travel to Nami Island, a picturesque river island that formed after the building of the Cheongpyeong Dam. After taking a ferry (or the zipline if you’re adventurous!), explore the many scenic trails and gardens on foot or bike. Or, if you’d rather stay within the city limits, you can shop in the bustling markets of Namdaemun and Dongdaemun, explore the five grand palaces, and catch a panoramic view from Namsan Seoul Tower. After your day at leisure, come together a final time this evening for a tour and celebratory farewell dinner at the Korean Furniture Museum.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Friday, October 14 Departure

Depart on group transfers to Incheon International Airport.
Included Meals: Breakfast

Price

$7,295–$8,120 pp

Expert

South Korea
PMC

Andrew Russeth is an art critic based in Seoul, South Korea. He has been executive editor of ARTnews and an editor at Surface and The New York Observer. He was awarded the Rabkin Prize for visual arts journalism in 2019. Russeth’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, W, New York, T, Architectural Digest, Artforum, Paper Monument, Bijutsu Techo, Blau, Parkett, Art+Auction, ArtReview, Atlas Obscura, Apollo, and Modern Painters, as well as in catalogues for exhibitions at museums and galleries.

In 2005 he started 16 Miles of String, a blog about contemporary art and art history in New York that has been supported by the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. In 2013, he was named Critic of the Year in the Rob Pruitt Awards. He has a B.A. in art history and political science from Columbia University and an M.S.T. in early childhood and special education from Pace University.

Accommodations

Located in the Myeong-dong shopping district of Seoul, L7 MYEONGDONG by LOTTE is a modern, four-star hotel that provides guests convenient access to all that Seoul has to offer. Within walking distance is Namdaemun Market, Namsangol Hanok Village, and Namsan Seoul Tower. Guests can also enjoy a unique view of Namsan Mountain from the hotel’s rooftop, which houses a trendy bar and foot spa. The cozy and well-designed rooms offer complimentary Wi-Fi, coffee and tea, high-quality bath amenities, and city views.

To Learn more

877.813.0690
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