After the donation of the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee's vast art collection, discussions on whether to build a separate, new museum dedicated to the collection have been a hot issue, with several regions vigorously competing for the museum to be based in their own area.
Today, the Culture Ministry announced details about the museum.
Our culture correspondent Kim Bo-kyoung is here in the studio to tell us more.
So Bo-kyoung, it's certain the museum is going to be in Seoul?
That’s right Ji-yeon, the Culture Ministry announced today that a separate art museum which for now is being called the "Lee Kun-hee Art Museum" will be built in central Seoul to house the late Lee Kun-hee's extensive art collection.
Over 21-thousand pieces of art have been donated to the National Museum of Korea, around 15-hundred pieces have been given to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea and dozens of pieces have been returned to the artist's hometown museums.
Since the pieces that have already gone to regional museums have been donated to those specific regions, the Culture Ministry is to gather the artwork at the National Museum of Korea and MMCA all in one spot.
The location is yet to be finalized, but it is going to be either Yongsan-gu District near the National Museum of Korea or the Songhyeon-dong neighborhood near the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea.
"Yongsan-gu and Songhyeon-dong both are near National Museum of Korea and MMCA which have the best professionality and infrastructure. Both are suitable enough to become the country's new cultural hub where we can expect active interaction and cooperation with related areas and boost the synergy from it."
Lots of cities and regions outside the capital area were also pushing to host the museum for Lee’s collection. What were the reasons behind the decision to build the museum in central Seoul?
There were several reasons why the special committee thought central Seoul was the best option.
First of all, the head of the committee said that it was important to house the art where professional personnel and experts can easily have access to it, to safely preserve and manage the art and conduct further research with related organizations.
The committee also agreed that easy accessibility for visitors was another factor, and that having a separate art museum is the best way to respect Lee Kun-hee's own philosophy toward art.
"Having all the donated art pieces together is the best way to respect the donor's intention. This unprecedented museum is going to be unique in covering art of different types and periods, from both the West and East."
"Almost 40 places were asking for the museum. At this point, complaints from any region were inevitable. We put people being able to enjoy cultural life as the main value. Though we can't quench the thirst 100-percent, we will make sure the same effects can come out by doing the traveling exhibition tour."
Now then with the basic blueprint out, what is the upcoming schedule? When can we enjoy this extensive art collection?
The art pieces are at the National Museum of Korea and MMCA for now, and on July 21st, both museums are going to open exhibitions showcasing the donated artwork.
Next April, on the first anniversary of the donation, both national museums along with Leeum Samsung Museum of Art and regional museums that have received pieces of art will together present the whole of Lee's collection.
Later on, a traveling exhibition showcasing Lee’s art collection will be held at national and public art museums around the country starting in the second half of 2022.
The completion of the new museum is expected around 2027 or 2028.
Thank you Bo-kyoung, for sharing the latest news. I assume you will be also covering up the special exhibitions by the national museums which are to open two weeks from today. We will be looking forward to that too.
Of course. Thank you.