An Artsy Weekend: Seoul Museum of Contemporary Art

Hola!  Again, it’s been way too long.  Life is strange but wonderful.  This weekend, I had the chance to visit Seoul for the third time.  It’s such a big city that you never quite feel like you understand it.  There’s always one more area to explore, and one more palace to visit.  I’m not kidding.  There are at least five palaces in the city.

I need to spend more time in Seoul.  The only thing holding me back is the commute.  It’s a two hour KTX ride from Daegu, or a four hour slow train trip.  Sure, anyone would say take the KTX, but the price is a factor too.  It’s between 40 and 50 thousand won for the KTX.  It’s half that price for the slow train. This time, I took the KTX.  I wanted as much time as possible to see the sights.

The main attraction this weekend was the Museum of Contemporary Art.  It’s right next to Gyeonbokgung, the main palace.


Here’s a nifty map, so no one else has to suffer the same agony.

This was a bit confusing for my friend and I.  On Saturday, we ran around Seoul, eventually taking the subway past Gangnam and outside of Seoul entirely.  The museum we were trying to visit turned out to be inside of a zoo.  A zoo that was filled with small children and their parents.  Now, I like kids.  I mean, I spend five days a week teaching them.  When you put them into a massive crowd though, that’s when I’d rather not be there.  We turned back, and found the new Korean IKEA instead.

I love that place.  It’s the same set up as every other IKEA I have visited, but way more packed.  The only special touch I saw was the shopping cart escalators that I have only experienced in Korea. That, and the inclusion of bulgogi and kimchi fried rice on the cafeteria menu.  I stuck with the salmon.  If you have an IKEA card, it will work at the location.  This means free coffee and discounts!  What’s not to love?

What with everything else, we did not end of going to the museum until Sunday.  The rain had come down suddenly that day, so it was a perfect museum morning.


My friend had been the one to suggest going, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.  As an illustrator, I tend to prefer a certain style.  Contemporary art is generally not my thing, but the exhibits caught my attention!

The Spaghetti Room
A favorite was a room full of paracord hanging from the ceiling.  Visitors had to take off their shoes and wear a face mask to come in.  The logic behind the mask is that they don’t want make up smearing the chord.  I thought of it as part of the experience.  There was something of a corn field in that exhibit.  When you were in the middle and could not see which direction to go next.  It reminded me of the saying, “Can’t died in a cornfield.”  If you don’t keep moving, you’re stuck.  Of course, this one was much more compact than a corn field.  I found my way out within a minute.

Museum Manners Sign

Before you entered the museum, there was a collaborative work.  Patrons could write and illustrate their own ‘Museum Manner’.

In Korea, cats are big in imagery.  Not as much as in the states, but close.

In Korea, cats are big in imagery. Not as much as in the states, but close.

Museum Manners

My Museum Manner

The Pier

I want to live at the bottom of a pond now.

I want to live at the bottom of a pond now.

Helpful Museum Info:


Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sun: 10 am – 6 pm

Wed, Sat: 10 am – 9 pm

Admission: 4,000 won

English language websiteTemple Festival

Temple Festival

Temple Festival Lanterns

After a stroll around the exhibits, it was time for lunch.  Sundays in Korea can feel like the Bible Belt. Many restaurants are closed.  We tried to find three specifics restaurants based on Foursquare reviews.  All three were closed!

On the upside, we found a temple festival while exploring.  There’s something so peaceful about the Buddhist temples here.  I love to walk around them.

Traditional Korean Restaurant

We settled on a traditional Korean restaurant in Insadong.  It was open, we were hungry, and they had food.  Done deal.

Traditional Korean Restaurant

Another benefit to these sorts of restaurants is that the prices are fairly uniform no matter where you go.  The kimchi jjigae I had was 6,000 won.  That is the same price I could expect to pay in Daegu.

Traditional Korean Restaurant Ceiling

After food, it was off to the train station.  Another wonderful thing about the KTX is how often they are scheduled.  If one train is full, you can catch another one within half an hour.  In the States, it would be so much more frustrating.  Korea is so connected.