I know, I know.
For every beautiful piece of art in a gallery in Insadong, there is also a thousand tourists all hankering for deals on cheap, traditional looking Korean goods to fight through on your way to the art.
I feel your pain, really…but if it is any consolation, and I hope that it is, the galleries have almost no people to fight through compared to the little shops along the way. It’s a complete and total shame for the tourists that they miss out on all the artwork …but …their loss is most certainly my gain. So for those of us who live, work and breathe in Seoul far longer than the tourists, I do highly suggest going to Insadong because the art scene is still alive and gorgeous. Last weekend I had a fantastic time in two galleries.
Hoping to promote Korean crafts and design globally, this gallery is actually part store/part gallery/part community space. You can shop for unique, handmade items that are modern but still thoroughly Korean in beauty and nature. Prices vary and can range to the high end but all would make the most wonderful gifts. But, the money you spend would be worthwhile. The goals of this foundation are quite admirable:
Promote creative activities by young artists, artisans and designers.
Expand crafts and design culture integral to everyday life.
Enhance the competitiveness of Korean crafts and design in the international market.
~per their pamplet
I’m hoping to buy this gift for a great gal I know. (me, its me) Gorgeous.
The building is also beautiful. There is the store, galleries, a library and “community spaces.” You can walk around or sit and use it as a calm respite to the hyper-hypo buying culture only a few feet down the street. Also of note, this is the same foundation responsible for renovating the old Seoul Station into the Culture Station Seoul 284.
Some photos from their website.
- Address for the Insadong Gallery: 8 Insadong 11-gil Jongro-gu
- Telephone: (02) 732-9382
(Gana)Insa Art Center
Right smack dab in the middle of the chaos and frenzied buying lies the Insa Art Center. A large, black, 6 story building full of art from Korean artists. You can spend a lot of time walking the stairs and looking at the pieces. If you’re lucky, you may even run into the artist him/herself (or if you’re really lucky you meet the artist’s mom because proud moms are adorable.) This is a terrific place with friendly staff, galleries that are easy to get to and work your way around and a cameras are ok policy.
From Artist Hwang Jai Hyoung
From Artist Lee Jin Yeong. I was in love with these. So fresh and bright with loads of dimension.
From Artist Kim Sujin. The artist’s mom was overseeing her daughter’s exhibit. She was so smiley and friendly.
From Artist Lee Il-Cheong. Lust for Life 2015. He was sitting at a table in the gallery drinking green tea from a traditional pot with his friends while we were there. It was so damn artsy.
From the Insa Art Store
From their terrace.
- Address: 41-1 Insadong Gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
- Phone: (02) 736-1020