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Thursday, September 14, 2023

Seoul center stage

Earlier this month, Seoul became the world capital of art for a week with the conjunction of Seoul Art Week, KIAF + Frieze Seoul, Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, Seoul Fashion Week, Crypto Art Seoul / Korea Blockchain Week, and a myriad of events, shows, and gallery openings.

(If you wonder what Mitch McConnell was doing on my Instagram timeline during Frieze Seoul 2023, I found this very realistic statue of him on sale at a discount price at Freeze D.C. 2023) Hopping from Hyoja-dong (Arumjigi) to Samseong-dong (Frieze-KIAF @ COEX) via Huam-dong (M+ and Doryun CHONG's homecoming, Whitestone's opening), Sinsa-dong (White Cube and LEE Jinju), Euljiro (Dan Archer and LG OLED at the DDP, Seongsu-dong (Beeple at The Gateway in S Factory), Songhyeon-dong (Kimchi and Chips' RE:WORLD), Taepyeongno (SBAU in Seoul HOUR)...

A lot of hype of course (boy did that crypto party remind me of internet extravaganza circa 2000), but also genuine gems and emotions. Good to see KIAF alive and kicking, many galleries coming from new horizons (even Accra), Doryun CHONG's emotional return to Seoul, or of course the themes of the (already!) fourth Seoul Biennale (waterways and mountains*, 2123 Seoul).

The return of visitors from China fueled the coopetition between Seoul and Hong Kong, and September here can counterbalance March madness there beyond the Frieze-Art Basel war. Interesting to see how Art Busan, now backed by web3 players, will fare / fair in early November with DEFINE (for DEsign and FINE arts in Seongsu-dong).

Seoul Village 2023
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* ICYMI: "Seoul waterways and urbanism - the full story"

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