Houston Community News >> Korean Art Gallery to Open in Houston

3/8/2007 Houston-- The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (MFAH), Texas in the United States will open a Korean art gallery in December in partnership with the National Museum of Korea. The works displayed will include both Korean traditional and contemporary art. Kim Hong-nam, director of the national museum and Christine Starkman, Asian art curator of the Houston based museum, yesterday signed a loan agreement to establish the gallery.

The agreement is significant in that the museum will be the first in the U.S. Southwest with a permanent gallery dedicated to Korean art.

``It will raise the total number of Korean art galleries and booths in other countries to 17. I hope that it will promote the originality and excellence of Korean culture and cultural exchanges between Korea and the United States,’’ Kim said in the press briefing at the national museum in Yongsan, Seoul.

Under the agreement, the national museum will loan 59 pieces of Korean cultural artworks which take up an area of 63-pyong (2,260 square feet) including the two national treasures _ Gold Crown and Gold Waist Belt _ both crafted during the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C.-668 A.D.). It will be the first time for these treasures to be exhibited outside of Korea.

``The intention to set up the Korean Gallery is to show not only rich Korean traditional culture but also the present art happenings,’’ Starkman said.

She said that the establishment came after Peter C. Marzio, director of the MFAH, was deeply impressed by rich Korean cultural artworks and contemporary arts during the trip to Korea in 2004 organized by the Korea Foundation.

The collection consists of the five sections _ ceramics, literati art, Buddhist art, women’s ornaments and contemporary art.

The opening of the Korean gallery is the first step toward the MFAH’S goal of full representation of Asian art by 2008.

The Chinese and Indian galleries are scheduled to open in January 2008, and the gallery for Japanese art will open in the fall of 2008.

The MFAH which was founded in 1900 is the largest art museum in America south of Chicago, west of Washington, D.C., and east of Los Angeles. It has 53,000 works.

The state-run Korean museum has also pushed to open Korean art galleries in world-rated museums such as the British Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

(Contributed by Korean Times)