Museum for Late Samsung Chief's Collection to Be Built in Seoul

  • By Jung Sang-hyuk

    July 08, 2021 13:09

    The government has decided that a museum dedicated to the substantial art collection donated to the nation by the heirs of late Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee will be built in Seoul.

    Candidate sites are Songhyeon-dong in Jongno and Yongsan, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hwang Hee said on Wednesday. Either site is expected to create synergies and stimulate artistic exchanges since one is near the National Museum of Korea and the other near the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

    The new museum will open in 2028.

    A woman looks around an exhibition of works from late Samsung chief Lee Kun-hee's collection at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul on Tuesday.

    Lee's heirs donated about 23,000 artworks from his collection to the government in April because they were saddled with the record inheritance tax bill. President Moon Jae-in suggested opening a special exhibition hall for the art collection, which sparked competition among some 40 municipal governments across the country to attract it.

    "Any local government will be dissatisfied if they aren't selected," Hwang told reporters Wednesday. "We had real difficulty making the decision but had to take into consideration which site is easy to access and can contribute to revitalizing the tourism industry."

    Asked if the ministry consulted the heirs in the process, Hwang said, "His heirs donated the collection without strings attached and didn't set any guideline either."

    Meanwhile, special exhibitions of his collection will open at the NMK and the NMMCA Art simultaneously on July 21. Afterward the government will cooperate with the Samsung family's own museum, the Leeum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the U.S., and the Museo Nacional del Prado in Spain to send them on a journey.

    The government will also posthumously award Lee the Order of Cultural Merit.

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