The Korean Collection of the MFAwill Reopen After Years of Renovation
보스톤코리아  2012-09-17, 11:51:18 
Translated by SeungYeon Woo
Written by HyunCheon Kim

After several months of renovation, the collection of Korean art at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) will be reopened this upcoming November 15th.

The collection of Korean art is being renovated for the first time in the 30 years since it was established in 1982. The Korean artworks will reflect different eras of Korea from the Bronze Age to Modern with the advanced technology of exhibition, including new display shelves produced in Italy, a developed lighting system, and some applications of media.

The most interesting fact about the renovation is that the Buddhist art of Korea will be exhibited at the MFA, which probably was not displayed before. Also, the MFA recently bought 10 pieces of Korean art which will be displayed, including letters from the Choseon Dynasty Era and a folding screen that represents “Ten Traditional Symbols of Longevity.”

Among the exhibits, the paintings will be changed every 9 months to prohibit any damage. Most of the paintings are drawn on silk or paper that is sensitive to light; thus, displaying them has to be done with caution.

Jane Portal, the current director of the collections of Oceania, Africa, and Asia, is leading the renovation of the collection of Korean art. “The MFA has the best quality of Korean artworks in the world except the artworks in Korea,” said Portal.

Portal is planning to give free lectures about Korean culture based on the collection of Korean art and she also wants to plan out some events to celebrate Korean traditional holidays.

On the other hand, Portal said the renovation of the Korean art collection is not about expansion. She explained that the empty space next to the current Korean art space, which will be filled with Korean Buddhist art, could be used for a temporary exhibition of other types of Korean art in the future; however, the space is there to be shared with other Asian countries, such as India and Islam.

Also, the space for Korean art is relatively small compared to that of Chinese or Japanese art, but there is a chance to expand the space if there are more Korean artworks in the future. Actually, the space which Korean art occupies is not quite small,as it holds about 1,000 pieces of art, though there are about 10,000 pieces of Japanese and 7,000 pieces of Chinese art.

The renovation has never happened until now not only because the exhibits were only ceramic and copper arts that did not need to be changed,but also because there were not enough visitors who were interested in Korean art.

Still, Portal tried to re-establish the Korean art collection by sending the proposal to the Korea Foundation in 2009, and she succeeded in receiving the donation support in 2010. Also through the support of the MFA, she finally began the renovation in 2010.

The Buddhist art that will be displayed with the reopening of the Korean art exhibit are the ones that the MFA collected from the earlier 19th century, and they are as impressive as the ones in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Harvard Art Museums.

The door connecting the Korean art exhibit inside of the Japanese art exhibit is still under construction. After two months, this exhibit is expected to see many Koreans with a lot of interest in Korean art.

The collection of Korean art will invite staff to throw an opening event on November 15th. Also, they are preparing ‘Korea Foundation Day’ for Koreans on the next day, the 16th. More information about the event will be announced later on.

ⓒ 보스톤코리아(, 무단전재 및 재배포 금지
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