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Busan Museum of Modern Art

Haeundae – BMOMA

Busan Museum of Modern Art

The spacious, three-level complex houses some of the world’s finest artists, with styles ranging from Western to Korean art. A Korean-Japanese businessman recently donated $2.6 million worth of famed writer/artist Henry Miller’s work. To get there, take Subway Line 2 to the Busan Museum of Modern Art Station. Open 7 days a week. (Official Site)

Location: 1413, Woo 2-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea

Open: 10:00 a.m. ~ 6:00 p.m.

Admission: 700 won for adults, 300 won for students and free for children 
(No admission fee on Saturday).

How to get there: By Bus No. 5, 36, 38, 40, 63, 139, 140, 141, 142, 239, or 302 from Suyeong, or No. 31, 100, 100-1, 200, or 307 from Dongnae. 
Take Subway Line No. 2 and get off at Busan Museum of Modern Art Subway Station, at go out Exit  5. It is located about 100 meters from the exit.

Review from "Chris in South Korea"

Destination: Busan Museum of Modern Art (Busan)


Opened in 1998, the Busan Museum of Modern Art has helped enhance awareness of the national art scene. One of the more popular tourist attractions in Busan, and one of the larger ones as well – but all of the space makes the place feel underused or underappreciated.

Getting there is an easy three-minute walk from the subway station, and walking through the outdoor sculpture park is interesting:

Titled '216.5 [degrees] x 11' by Bernar Venet (France). Imagine eleven arcs of cor-ten steel sitting next to each other, over 3 meters wide and 4 meters tall. Without more to go on than a title and an artist name, its difficult to fully appreciate.


Titled 'Dream, Love, and…" by KIM Jung Myung (Korea) – Disney characters on a Mickey-Mouse-like glove? Cute.


Quite a few other sculptures outside to see, but it was cold and time to move in to the main event. After paying a very cheap 700 won admission fee (about 50 cents), I began to explore. Pictures were not technically allowed, but I didn't see the harm in taking a few of the rooms – and no one seemed to be stopping the Koreans more obviously sporting their cell phone cameras.

An exhibit on the second floor containing a collection of Korean modern art (what a concept for a Korean modern art museum!). In all seriousness, most pieces dated from 1970's to 2008, and focused on understandable topics: home and hearth, the community, nature, and Koreans looking at Korea. Most pieces are quite large, and help to fill the huge space.

Another large gallery was filled with donations from the private collection of ? ? ? (Sin Ok Jin) – 227 pieces donated over the last 10 years, according to the brochure. A nice collection of Korean art – again, modern art created by Koreans and focusing on mostly understandable topics.

The most interesting exhibit to yours truly – over 100 pieces by ?? ? (Son Ah-yoo is the accepted Romanization). To have the works of a Korean-Japanese artist donated by a Korean-Japanese collector, and to have the works located in Busan (a Korean port city close to Japan) is wonderfully symbolic. The project is aimed at healing some of the wounds between Korea and Japan, according to the brochure, and marks the 10th anniversary of the museum's opening.

Oh, yes, the art… I almost forgot. Very colorful, almost psychadelic at times, most are endless numbers of dots and lines expressed with either a few colors or seemingly every color in the rainbow (and then some). The brochure doesn't provide a captive reason for the art, or an easy way of understanding the artist's intent – but the art was still nice.

The third (and final) major exhibit housed within the museum, called 'Boosting the Mid 2008'. The focus is on the once-young artists that have given way to a new generation of young artists, typically in their 40's or 50's and having been most active as young artists in the 1980's and 90's. According to the brochure, it's the first of it's kind to look back and ask 'Where are they now?' It's an interesting take – exploring the once-young artist who was active decades ago and display their current works (all were from 2008) through the perspective of time. Four artists had displays in smaller, seperate rooms; the highlight for me was ? ? ? (Wang Kyung-ae is the given Romanization). Lace and fabric intertwined by the woman who "has established fiber art in the conceptual horizon of contemporary art."

A thorough look through the museum took about 2 hours, and eventually took me past the souvenir shop around the corner from the entrance:

For some reason, umbrellas are either big sellers in December, or they haven't been taken down in a few months.

But wait, the tour's not over yet! Just down the street was a sign to Olympic Park. Intriguing, so naturally I go to take a look:

Um, yeah, not much to see, but moving in for a closer look…

Titled "Myth-Motorcycle" by Jeong-hyeong Yi (Korea). And yes, it definitely looks like a real motorcycle, somehow suspended in air.

Yeah, not much to see, but it's a nice open area to help get away from that 16th story office you work on.

A parting shot of an outdoor sculpture by the museum.


If interested in seeing how Koreans see Korea through art, the Museum of Modern Art is worth a visit. It's important to note that there are no permanent exhibitions – what you see 6 months from now will not be what you see today, so if you live in Busan it's definitely worth seeing what's coming up.



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