Ulsan Art Museum’s Task
A municipal art museum has opened in the industrial city of Ulsan. Art exhibitions by diverse artists and fun content on display are expected to change the stereotypical notion about Ulsan into a city where art is found.
London’s most popular modern museum Tate Modern is an affiliated institution of Tate which houses the British national art collection. As many people know, it used to be the Bankside Power Station next to the Thames before remodeling. The new design focused on meeting structural elements essential to the interior space of an art gallery while hardly touching the building’s exterior. The tall chimney became the symbol of Tate Modern. It is an excellent example that shows how an old industrial space can be rendered into one for modern art and what role it can play as an art space.

Ulsan Art Museum viewed from outside. It was designed by architect Ahn Yong-dae.

Inside the museum, with white being the prominent color

City of Art, Is It?
Ulsan is one of the leading industrial cities in Korea. It became a metropolitan city as its population grew and the city expanded, but Ulsan continued to be recognized as No. 1 in Korean industry. There always was, however, talk about the lack of cultural facilities for citizens and visitors.
Then, things started to improve one by one. Several years ago, Ulju Mountain Film Festival kicked off in Ulju-gun. The Taehwa River, a beautiful stream that had yet to attract tourists, underwent revamp and became a regional garden and eventually a national garden offering sightseeing opportunities. Earlier this year, Ulsan Art Museum opened.
Ulsan Art Museum is located on Doseogwan-gil in Bukjeong-dong, Jung-gu. Behind the museum are Ulsan Magistrate Office and Living Quarters occupied by the governor of Ulsan Dohobu during the late Joseon period. You can find Ulsan Culture Street next to Ulsan Art Museum, aptly standing where the history and culture of Ulsan coexist.
The museum was inaugurated in January this year after the public design contest in 2016. It won the 2022 Good Design Korea’s Space/Environmental Design award. Built to fit into the lot between Ulsan Dongheon(Magistrate Office) and its Guesthouse, the museum received the accolade for its architecture that does not disrupt the atmosphere of the site featuring various historic buildings.

You can also enjoy installations set up outside the exhibition hall.

Exhibition Hall 1

Art Museum Floor Plan
Ulsan Art Museum has galleries and educational spaces across three floors. The B1 level has the XR Lab and Learning Place, while the B2 level has Gallery 1 and Gallery 2. Gallery 3 and Multi-purpose Hall occupy the first floor.
The XR Lab on B1 is designed exclusively for the media art experience available at Ulsan Art Museum. Visitors can have immersive art experiences through various technologies such as VR, AR and MR that have been adopted by contemporary artists in recent years. With the latest diversification of media art technologies, more and more artists are relying on media formats to deliver their art. It also prompted art galleries like Ulsan Art Museum to build a separate space for activities involving media art.

XR lab displays videos and media art works.

The museum is exhibiting ‘Yeondoo Jung: Crow’s Eye View’ until October 10. In this documentary film, a crow in the sky is observing a Japanese-born singer and the city of Ulsan. The entire floor and walls are used as a giant screen for the show of the film, indicating that not just the film but its delivery method can also be included in art.
The two galleries on the B2 level is a space dedicated for special exhibitions. Gallery 1 presented ‘Art and Peace: let us begin again from zero o’clock’, curated by a collective of 11 artists from Korea, China, and Japan to offer a multifaceted diagnosis of today’s society overflowing with conflict, tension and violence, through September. At Gallery 2, a special exhibition commemorating the 90th anniversary of the birth of artist Nam June Paik was held through September displaying artworks conveying the worldview of the artist as a global citizen.
In October, ‘Art and Industry’ created by a group of 16 artists including Yang Fudong, a world-renowned media artist from China, will be showcased.

Exhibition Hall 2, hosting a special exhibition for Nam June Paik

Participatory Art Museum
Apart from the offline shows at the museum, it offers the same exhibitions on an online platform. Those who failed to see an exhibition in person due to the limited period can still view the works online. It’s a move in line with the era of New Media.
In addition, the museum provides exhibition-related events and educational programs. For instance, there will be a talk session with artist Yeondoo Jung and a performance of art-inspired music by Hwaum Chamber Orchestra. Its goal is to encourage more active participation by the public that may otherwise assume a passive stance. Likewise, its learning programs are receiving favorable reviews for providing an opportunity for visitors to expand their senses and accept different ideas.
It hasn’t been a year since the opening, but Ulsan Art Museum has been successfully hosting large-scale exhibitions and educational programs. Above all, it is giving us a chance to think about the role of public art museums in society.

Archive at the museum

Ulsan Dongheon and Naea seen from the museum

Address 72 Doseogwan-gil, Jung-gu, Ulsan
Hours 10:00 - 18:00 (Closed on Mon)
Phone +82-52-211-3800
Homepage Ulsan Art Museum


Where to Stay in Ulsan: LOTTE HOTEL ULSAN
LOTTE HOTEL ULSAN is located in the new City Center in Ulsan where tourism and industries coexist. The hotel has 200 rooms and suites overlooking Taehwagang River crossing the city and the Onsan Industrial Complex, one of the 12 scenic spots in Ulsan. It also has various facilities such as a fitness center, swimming pool, and a golf range. Among them, SPA EIR is a premium spa inspired by Scandinavian sensibilities, and a perfect place to unwind after a day of hiking. The hotel provides you with a comfortable bedding so that you can fully recharge yourself overnight.
Address LOTTE HOTEL ULSAN, 282 Samsan-ro, Nam-gu, Ulsan-si
Inquiry +82-52-960-1000
October 2022 Editor:Jung Jaewook
Photographer:Park Sungyoung

Where to stay?

  • October 2022
  • Editor: Jung Jaewook
  • Photographer: Park Sungyoung
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