Art + Design, Travel
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Gallery Hopping | Jongno

If you want a feel of authentic Seoul, I’d argue you need to head to the north side of the Han.  As I do much of my day tripping in the southern half, I relish the times I get to go to one of my favorite areas, Jongno

My actual intention was the visit one gallery I had my eye on and ended up in an independent bookstore, three galleries and a museum. That’s the ridiculously cool thing about settling down in a living, breathing city like Seoul. You can always pick a location and find plenty to do in that area which can include, but is not limited to: entertainment, food, coffee and a cocktail. And depending where you go, each of those things can be an experience.

Seoul Selection | Bookstore & Magazine

On this particular day, I walked out of the subway into the intense heat already hitting Korea. The area I wanted to get to is a bit “down the road” so when I saw the Seoul Selection bookstore en route, I quickly jumped at the chance to be soaked in the technological gift that is air conditioning.

Once properly chilled, I found some books in the cozy, basement bookstore and approached the clerk. He was so kind and friendly and he had a small stack of freebies already prepared for me to take. There was a nice hanbok print, some postcards and a poem card. One item though proved very useful, was a free ticket to the MMCA, which happened to be right down the block. My day was planning itself out nicely.

I LOVE it when days take initiative.

See about your free ticket!

MMCA tickets Free!

 

Seoul Selection Book Store

Address | B1 Korean  Association B/D, 105-2, Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea

Hours | Mon~Fri 9:30AM to 6:30PM | Saturday 1PM to 6PM


MMCA | National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

There are three MMCAs in Seoul and I had already been to two. I needed to witness the full trilogy to feel complete. You understand, I’m sure.

The museum is gorgeous. There are several exhibitions in several different enormous galleries. So there is a lot to see. There are also installations outside. I happened to be there when the famous panda invasion made their way over to Jongno. 

MMCA Sign

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MMCA | National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

Address |  30 Samcheong-ro, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-200

Hours | Open 10AM to 6PM | Wednesday + Saturday until 9PM | Closed Mondays

Cost | 4,000 won



Mecca of Contemporary Art

On this day I pleasantly discovered the Arario Gallery, Kakje Gallery & the Hakgojae Gallery. Sadly, only the Arario Gallery didn’t seem to mind my picture taking but all three galleries are worth going to soak up some culture. This area is called the Mecca of Contemporary Art, and for good reason. There are so many galleries and museums it is hard to choose. The only solution is more visits!

 

Arario Gallery

Arario  promotes both Korean and International contemporary artists. During my visit, there was artwork from an Indian artist who lives in Daegu, Tallur L.N. There was also some amazing industrial art shooting sparks and just being cooler than anything.

Arario Gallery front

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Arario Gallery 2

Arario Gallery 3

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Arario Gallery

Address | 84 Bukchon-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea

Hours | Tuesday-Sunday  10am – 7pm | Closed on Mondays

Cost | Free

 

 

Kukje Gallery

Kukje is a small, beautiful gallery with a cafe attached. It’s two levels and minimalist and very calm. They had a very interesting pieces from Mexican artist, Gabriel Kuri on the visit.

Kukje Gallery

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Kukje Gallery 2

Address | 54 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu Seoul, 110-200 Korea

Hours | Monday–Saturday  10 am–6 pm | Sunday, National holidays  10 am–5 pm

Cost | Free

 

Hakgojae Gallery

One of the most beautiful galleries I’ve visited, Hakgojae Gallery is a traditional Korean house (hanok) refurbished into a contemporary and clean space which still retains traditional elements. This gallery is well worth the visit, just for the beauty of the gallery itself. The gallery showcases both traditional and contemporary art and also owns a publishing company and has published art books. 

Hakgoje Gallery

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Address | 50 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea 110-200

Hours | Tuesday-Saturday 10AM to 7PM | Sunday 10AM to 6PM | Closed Mondays

Cost | Free


Here’s a map to help you out now that you’re itching to go. I circled the galleries and the MMCA, but as you can see from this map, there are many others to choose from. Go crazy, kids! Enjoy the north side of the beautiful city of Seoul.

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