Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Morning at the Museum of Modern Art

I work nights. Getting off around 10 somewhat limits my nighttime adventures, and while my weekends are spent exploring parts of Seoul, I’ve decided that my week day mornings are also prime times. Not only do I feel more productive that I would having spent my entire morning finding new podcasts and blogs to follow, I get to experience Seoul in a fresh way. Waking up with a city, in all its morning glory, is worth an occasional early subway trip if you ask me.

Living only 45 minutes from the heart of Seoul, I’m pretty well located to make a weekly trek to someplace awesome, before work that is! Some of you live even closer-- awesome! Set your alarm clock, grab some coffee, bring a book for the subway, and hit the track Jack. Facebook will still be buzzing after work, and we can sleep in tomorrow. There is much exploring to do!

Last week, my destination o’ awesome was the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Mostly because it was free, and some friends of mine boasted about the awesome open air sculpture garden. Which, I have to agree was both outdoor and awesome. (The groaning iron man was by far my favorite.) I learned upon arrival the MOCA is brilliantly located in the beautiful Seoul Grand Park, and was delighted to take in all the recently blossomed cherry trees and other morning fellows on our early walk through the park. Or a hike? It’s hard to tell at times. Seems like people gear up to go for a walk around here. But that’s besides the point.

Seoul Grand Park is home to a lot of attractions. Many of which would make for great morning outings. The natural scenery is quite beautiful, with perfect trails for a short hike, walk, or run, and ample grassy spaces for a nice picnic or book reading session. The park also houses Seoul Grand Park Zoo, a Botanical Garden, SeoulLand, along with the MOCA, all of which, again, are worthy of a visit!

The MOCA, without hesitation, is a perfect morning outing, especially if you’re making the trek alone. Be sure to visit when the weather is nice and you’ll enjoy a pleasant walk through the park to the museum, which is about 15 minutes from the subway station. I spent close to two hours wandering my way around the museum, and it was great. There really is something for everyone. An impressive photography collection of modern and traditional Korean life, and a captivating sculpture exhibit, my favorite being a collection of hands, and a quite provocative painting collection on what I understood to be a depiction of western influences on traditional Korean life. Impressive and definitely worth a visit. On a lighter note, make sure you don’t pass over the Children’s Gallery. However, enter prepared. Mid-week mornings are hosts to school field trips and little children enjoy shouting “wei-guk-in” (foreigner) without any concern for volume control or regard for museum etiquette. Kind of funny. Somewhat embarrassing, but you can handle it. The MOCA is also temporarily home to a special exhibition of Korea’s Artist of the Year 2010, Kiwon Park: Who’s Afraid of Museums, which will be running till the end of May for only 3,000W. I’d allot a little more time to do both portions, but would definitely recommend checking it out.
There you have it. Korea MOCA located in Seoul Grand Park. It’s awesome. For those of you living in SoKo, visit for yourself and I think you’ll agree. For those of you not in SoKo, you'll have to take my word for it. Or visit me! : )

Museum Entrance. Made of wood.

It really is a lovely walk through the park. Hard to see but an air-tram run across the lake through the park.

This little guy welcomes you to the zoo.

The Deets:
Subway Station: Seoul Grand Park, Line 4
Admission: Free, Special Exhibition 3,000W
Hours: March to October 10am-6pm, open till 9 on Saturday and Sunday. CLOSED MONDAYS.
Time Allotment: Travel time + 2/3 hours depending on speed of browse and picnicking habits.
There is a small museum cafe and plenty picnic tables and grass to enjoy a picnic, or pick up some kimbap just outside the subway on your way up to the museum for a perfect Korean picnic.

1 comment:

  1. That is a SWEET tiger! I want him to welcome guests at my house!