Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Unveils New Korean Art Program

Republic of Korea Provides $1 Million Award for Korean Art and Scholarship
December 20, 2017
News Release
Courtyard of Freer Gallery of Art at night

The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery have been awarded a grant of more than $1 million from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea.

“I am thrilled to be working with the ministry on this important project,” said curator J. Keith Wilson, the Freer|Sackler curator of Ancient Chinese Art, who will lead the new Korean art and culture program. “As the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art, we have always featured Korean art in our collections. Now we have the ability to share some of Korea’s most revered artworks through the masterworks exhibitions, increase scholarly understanding of these and other Korean art objects and introduce visitors to the extraordinary richness of Korean art and culture.”

During the five-year program, two masterworks from the National Museum of Korea will be on exhibit, senior scholars will be in residence and the Freer|Sackler’s annual Korean Film Festival and other public programs will contribute to raising the profile of Korean art and culture on the National Mall. The first masterwork exhibition will be held in 2019 at the Freer|Sackler.

“Today we lay the foundation for a great new chapter of working toward our shared goals,” said Myeongsun Park, director of the Korean Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. “We hope that this grant from Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will help sustain and grow the museum’s Korea programs for years to come. We also trust it will further strengthen the Korea–U.S. relationship, which is so vital in the world today.”

About the Freer|Sackler

Founded in 1923, the Freer Gallery of Art was the Smithsonian’s first art museum, and it was joined by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in 1987. Together they have long been known for preserving and sharing the treasures of Asia, making inspiring connections between Asia, America and the world. Today, the museum offers exhibitions that highlight the compelling beauty of ancient worlds as well as the vitality of contemporary Asian artists. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people enjoy the wonders of Asian art in the Freer|Sackler and online.

The Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and the adjacent Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., together comprise the nation’s museums of Asian art. It contains one of the most important collections of Asian art in the world, featuring more than 40,000 objects ranging in time from the Neolithic to the present day, with especially fine groupings of Islamic art, Chinese jades, bronzes and paintings and the art of the ancient Near East. The Freer|Sackler also contains important masterworks from Japan, ancient Egypt, South and Southeast Asia and Korea, as well as the Freer’s noted collection of works by American artist James McNeill Whistler.

The Freer|Sackler is a part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, which is dedicated to the increase and diffusion of knowledge. 

About the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

The Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MSCT) is the government agency of the Republic of Korea in charge of publicity for culture, arts, media, advertisement, publications, sports, tourism and national affairs. The MSCT oversees the policies of museums and art museums in the Republic of Korea and provides comprehensive policies and support measures to promote overseas museums that operate Korean galleries, as well as domestic institutions. In addition, the MSCT operates major national museums such as the National Museum of Korea, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the National Folk Museum of Korea, the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History, the National Hangeul Museum and Korean Cultural Centers abroad.

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Elisa Glazer

(202) 633-0449

glazere@si.edu

Megan Krefting

(202) 633-0271

kreftingm@si.edu