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Korean art goes front and center at LACMA

September 12, 2009 | 10:00 am

Korean galleries at LACMA

Hyonjeong Kim Han arrived at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2006 as associate curator of Chinese and Korean art. But she is making a sort of debut with the recent opening of the museum’s new galleries of Korean art. Formerly tucked away on the lower level of the Ahmanson building and then closed for a couple of years amid an ongoing reorganization, the Korean art showcase is now much larger and more prominently located, on the plaza level of the Hammer building.

LACMA’s big summer exhibition, “Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists From Korea,” has already brought more Koreans and Korean Americans to the museum, the curator says. “I hope the new galleries will bring more people to see the objects, talk about them and think about what they mean.”

The new display highlights a collection that has grown from a few works to about 500 paintings, sculptures, ceramics and textiles and an 800-piece trove of pottery shards.  The inaugural exhibition also offers three loans from the National Museum of Korea, including a “Pensive Buddha” sculpture designated as a National Treasure.

“I am very happy and proud,” says Jaewon Kim, director of L.A.’s Korean Cultural Center. “My hope is that the galleries will provide great accessibility to the museum and Korean art for the Korean community and Los Angelenos in general. When the first Korean galleries opened at LACMA, their collection was not so full-scale. This time, not only is the space greater, but the collection is richer. I also hope, through the development of the relationship between LACMA and the Korean National Museum, there will be other treasures coming and going.”

To read the full story in Sunday’s Arts & Books section, click here.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

Photo: Hyonjeong Kim Han with Korean portraits at LACMA. Credit: Christina House / Los Angeles Times

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‘Your Bright Future’ spotlights contemporary Korean artists at LACMA