Top Exhibitions in Seoul

Must-See Shows This Month

Wondering what’s on view and what to see in Seoul? Here are our top picks.

Once you’ve made it through this list, don’t forget to check out our newly launched Seoul Neighborhood Guides to explore other shows, plus restaurants and more.

Ilmin Museum of Art

Korean Traditional Painting in Alter-age at Ilmin Museum of Art

Artists: Noh Hansol, Laurent Grasso, Moon Joohye, Park Grim, Park Sohyun, Park Wunggyu, Park Jieun, Bae Jaemin, Son Donghyun, Lee Eunsil, Jung Haena, Choi Haeri, Hwang Kyumin

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Bin Woo Hyuk

Spotlight Series I: Promenade at Chapter II

Artists: Bin Woo Hyuk

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Koenig Seoul


Artists: On Kawara, Alicja Kwade, and Peter Dreher

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APMAP at Amorepacific Museum of Art | ArtDrunk Seoul

APMAP at Amorepacific Museum of Art

APMAP ticks all the boxes for a contemporary art show: massive installations, industrial materials, sleek concrete interiors. But what exactly is it? Started in 2013, the initiative supports Korean artists in the production of site-specific works. Keep an eye out for Koo Hyunmo’s minimal but touching depiction of wintery trees, and Soyoung Chung’s political-ecological installation with references to the DMZ and oceanographic surveys. But perhaps the biggest “wow” award goes to Kayip+Minseop Woo’s giant sound sculpture. Suspended from the museum’s ceiling, it produces noise via the Helmholtz Resonance Phenomenon. (Yes, we had to Google it too: it’s basically what happens when you blow across the top of a beer bottle). The show is varied and surprising, and an essential reminder of how the contemporary Korean art scene is daring, exciting, and fun.

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Robert Rauschenberg at Thaddaeus Ropac Seoul | ArtDrunk

Robert Rauschenberg at Thaddaeus Ropac

Robert Rauschenberg was an artist full of surprises, who took delight in all things unexpected and unconventional. After a trip to Chile, where copper mining holds great importance, Rauschenberg decided to have a go at using the metal for art. He also wasn’t one for half-measures: he kept it up for a decade, trying out different paints, tarnishes, and metals of every description. The Ropac show is a testament to his obsessive curiosity and persistent experimentation. Despite the novel surfaces, the works retain oodles of classic Rauschenberg: screen-printed mashups of classical art and commercial advertising, frazzled drips and drops, and bursts of searing color. 

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Mandy El-Sayegh and Lee Keunmin at Lehmann Maupin Seoul | ArtDrunk

Mandy El-Sayegh & Lee Keunmin at Lehmann Maupin

When language falters, pictures come to the rescue. Our story starts with a 21st-century friendship between two artists who met online. Without a common language — El-Sayegh is Malaysian-British, Lee is Korean — their correspondence hinged on exchanging images. Thus, over the course of several years, they developed a shared aesthetic sensibility, and their current show is the impressive result. Images of the body loom large here. Lee’s quasi-abstract paintings are based on hallucinations he had while hospitalized. El-Sayegh’s fleshy collage work explores the relationship between fragile bodies and institutions of power. The show is made even more powerful, and poignant, in the wake of the Itaewon tragedy, to which El-Sayegh has added an element to a sound piece in response.

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