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Korean Contemporary Art Establishes Its Own Position in the World

2011-03-24

On March 22, 2011, AMOREPACIFIC Corp. (President and CEO, Suh Kyung-bae) signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the head office (Yongsan, Seoul) with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (hereinafter LACMA; Director, Michael Govan) and the Korea Foundation (President, Byung-Kook Kim) in order to step up its activities as a "cultural missionary" to promote the precious value and pride of Korean culture around the world.

According to successful signing of this MOU based on designated donation project of the Korea Foundation, AMOREPACIFIC will provide financial support for LACMA to purchase Korean contemporary artworks as much as $200,000 every year for the following 5 years. Owing to this MOU, it is expected that LACMA, the largest art museum across the Midwestern region of United States, will have more opportunities to exhibit and introduce a cross-genre variety of Korean contemporary artworks to visitors. In particular, this MOU has a great implication in the sense that this financial support provides a good opportunity to introduce many artworks of young rising artists who lead Korean contemporary art, while existing Korean collection of LACMA has been mostly limited to Korean old and traditional artworks.

In addition, AMOREPACIFIC plans to cooperate with LACMA in preparing a Korean brochure for introduction of art museum, which will be provided for visitors in LACMA. Along with the exhibition of Korean contemporary artworks across generations and genres, it is expected that the development of the brochure can help Korean visitors in America for their convenience and with their understanding about Korean contemporary artworks, so that will implant pride of Korean culture in the minds of more visitors.

The signing ceremony of the MOU will be attended by Suh Kyung-bae, President and CEO of AMOREPACIFIC Corp. Michael Govan, Director of LACMA and Byung-Kook Kim, President of the Korea Foundation.

"AMOREPACIFIC is a company that spreads culture rather than just sells cosmetics, and is also a corporate citizen that shares culture with others around the world. I hope that this MOU with LACMA will contribute to improving the status of Korean women's culture and promoting the excellence of Korean culture across the world," said President and CEO Suh Kyung-bae.

AMOREPACIFIC has been continuosly working to inherit and develop the beauty of Korean traditions from both inside and outside the country. In 2008, AMOREPACIFIC joined a designated donation program of the Korea Foundation to donate $300,000 for the installation of Women's Quarter at the Korean art galleries in LACMA. In 2009, the company presented a total of 36 artworks including "Boseok Tugak Samjak Norigae (decorative ornaments with three precious stones)" from the collection of AMOREPACIFIC Museum of Art to LACMA with celebrating the reopening of the Korean art galleries in LACMA.

* AMOREPACIFIC Corp. the Missionary of Korean Women's Culture

Under the mission of "Asian Beauty Creator”, AMOREPACIFIC has been committed to beauty and health business on the basis of profound Asian wisdom about nature and human being. Based on a variety of cultural promotion activities, AMOREPACIFIC has prepared a ground for experience in "beauty" created by mankind across from past to present and from the east to the west.

In 1979, it established "AMOREPACIFIC Museum of Art" (formerly, "the Amore Museum") to begin with researches and art exhibitions across all aspects of Korean women's culture on a full scale. In 2009, the company also gave birth to high quality exhibitions like "Sulwha Culture Exhibition". "Sulwha Culture Exhibition" received favorable reviews from visitors by creating a beautiful harmony between traditional culture and contemporary art through collaborations among traditional artists, contemporary artists and new promising artists in Korea.

In overseas arena, AMOREPACIFIC also demonstrated its efforts to propagate the original Korean women's culture into the world. In Tokyo, Japan in 2005, AMOREPACIFIC opened an exhibition titled "the Grace and Beauty of Korean Women" in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of normalized diplomatic relations between Korea and Japan. This exhibition attracted many interests in the sense that it was the first independent exhibition in Japan held by Korean private museum. The exhibition also presented more than 200 select artworks from the collection of AMOREPACIFIC Museum of Art so as to comprehensively demonstrate the life and beauty of Korean women. Then in 2007, the AMOREPACIFIC Museum of Art presented a part of its collection for the opening of the Korean art galleries in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA.

* Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

LACMA is a museum of art that stands for the multiracial and multicultural nature inherent in Los Angeles. It is also a largest art museum across the Midwestern region of United States with attracting more than 1 million visitors annually since its opening in 1965. LACMA possesses a various collection of artworks from Asia, Europe and North & South America as well as contemporary fine arts.

The Korean art galleries in LACMA was first established in 1999 through renovations and maintenance projects funded by the Korea Foundation and was later re-opened in 2009. It houses a modern model of the Ja Kyeong Jeon from the Gyeongbok Palace where Queen Shinjeong  lived. This exhibit room is also decorated with LACMA's masterpiece titled "Shinjeong Wanghu Jinchando (Sixtieth Birthday Banquets for Dowager Queen Sinjeong in Gyeongbok Palace)" and many valuable works and pieces of art from Korean female culture. In particular, the culture of Korean women was brought up as an independent subject at the entrance of the exhibit room under the support of AMOREPACIFIC. Works of art related to this theme were exhibited, and they showed the culture of Korean women which is in harmony with both tradition and modern times of Korea. As a result, LACMA was able to find a good opportunity to advertise Korean culture and history to the world.

Since Michael Govan took his office as the director of LACMA in 2006, the museum has steadily made efforts for investment and development under its long-term development plan titled "Transformation."

* The Korea Foundation

The Korea Foundation is a leading organization in public diplomacy to propagate the ‘soft power’ of Korea to the world. Since 1991, it has developed a series of activities for improving awareness and interests for Korea from international society across a variety of fields including Koreanology promotion, cultural and art exchange, personal exchange, forum business and publication assistance. In particular, the Korea Foundation has made effort to facilitate Korean gallery activities across overseas famous museums. For example, it assisted 21 sites of museum across 9 countries including the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in building Korean art galleries at those museums.

Moreover, it has run the designated donation program to utilize donation from corporate and individuals for appointing Koreanology professors, installing Korean art galleries in overseas museums and operating related programs in those museums.