Korean Public Art

Korean Public Art updated with a few more examples


wiki article

art is not for arts sake

more on korean public art

LA Times on Korean Public Art

rel=”noopener”>Gyeansan Mountain is a Great Hike

I love Korea public art. Due to a Korean law, building owners receive a sizeable tax deduction for displaying public art. As a result there has been a proliferation of public art all over the country. Some of it is quite good, some questionable, but most have a whimsical sense if not quirky sense of humor. I love walking about discovering public art in my daily walks across town. Here then are my favorite Korean public art pieces, followed by some articles on Korean Public Art. If any one has other examples they wish to share send them to me and I will update this article.

The Art

beer murals

Berkeley in Seoul Coffee Shop


Miscellaneous sculpture


Fish Mural Gyeopodae Beach

Hongdae Street Mural

Hongjae subway mural


Horse statue Gyeopodae Beach

Coffee motto


Mullae Street Art

Make A Wish





Baseball fans

Unseo Street Mural

Korean Bull

Blue River Demon

Roman Statues

KGB Vodka

more public art

these are taken from a mural at the Youngsan Army base of all places.

Ys flag mural – jakecaller@gmail.com – Gmail

Dog Image Near Sejong Cultural Center NEW

Seated Man statute near Sejong Culture Center

may 2019 updates

Achasan mural




Snoopy Pizza Hill Walker Hill Resort




For more information look at the following articles

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said Wednesday that it is looking for Seoul residents, including foreigners, to uncover public art in the city’s streets.

Compared to cities famous for iconic and popular landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty in Manhattan and the 3-ton bronze sculpture Charging Bull in Wall Street, Seoul is relatively less known for public art and its landmarks.

To build a city with more variety in culture, architecture and public art, Seoul City kicked off a project last year that allocated about 700 million won ($590,000) to construct public art and landmarks on par with those around the world.

“We hope Seoul will serve as an artistic city for tourists,” said Yoo Hyun-ju, an official from Seoul City’s design policy department.

(The Seoul Metropolitan Government)
The project “Arts on Seoul’s street found by citizens” invites anyone living in Seoul to participate in uncovering art in the city. It will run from Aug. 19 to Oct. 18.

Under 10 themes, participants are to find public art and landmarks in a group of 10, joined by field experts and art connoisseurs. Their promotions of Seoul’s public arts and introductions of iconic landmarks in the city can be viewed via Seoul City’s social media. After the list of public art is collected, there will be public vote in early November and the results of the most beautiful public art in Seoul will be displayed at Dongdaemun Design Plaza.

Those interested can sign up at http://sculture.seoul.go.kr/archives/73034. Applications will be accepted until Aug. 5. Foreign residents should send their name, age, gender, address, occupation and motivation for participating to jenifer@seoul.go.kr.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)

South Korea’s Public Art is Not for Art’s Sake
February 08, 2011 7:00 PM

Public art in Seoul, South Korea
In recent years, cities have seen sculptures, paintings and all manner of artistic installations sprout like mushrooms, both inside and outside of office buildings. Many critics think the attempt at urban improvement is not a pretty picture.

This is definitely not art for art’s sake. It is, rather, art for the law’s sake.
A South Korean law requires owners of large buildings to set aside one percent of construction costs for art.

But what qualifies as art? That is left up to design committees run by local governments.

Hong Kyoung-han, the chief editor of “Public Art” magazine, says the result of the 15-year-old law is disappointing.

“More than 90 percent of it is problematic. It has no relationship to the architecture and no form,” he said. “There is no artistic sense whatsoever. There are thousands of works of arts on display publicly in Seoul, yet most of them are viewed negatively.”

Many critics say they hesitate to regard as art the similar chunks of metal, human-shaped sculptures and reflective orbs plopped in front of most big buildings. So ubiquitous, they generate little notice from passersby.

A few are harder to ignore. A steel company paid nearly $1.5 million to famous sculptor Frank Stella to build “Amabel.” Some people have called for its removal, complaining that it quickly rusted.
Oh Se-hoon is the mayor of Seoul. He is a big booster of urban design and the city beautification campaign begun under his predecessor.

Mayor Oh says the one percent law initially deserved praise because it helped beautify cities. But, he says, the law is not achieving its aim.

“Because it is enforced by law, people install art out of obligation without any passion or an eye for true art,” he said. “Thus we end up with art that hardly can gain public acceptance.”

Magazine editor Hong, however, does not want to see government involvement disappear entirely.

“If we just leave it to the developers of buildings, we cannot expect to see much in the way of cutting-edge, high-level art,” he said. “And only a small number of building owners would put art on public display. So, for now, government participation is necessary.”

Oh presides over a city that, thanks to the law, has put on display 6,000 sculptures, 1,200 paintings, dozens of murals and hundreds of other items ranging from calligraphy to handicrafts.

“Great art in the right place gives citizens a sense of relief and relaxation,” he said. “These days I’m into fun designs which will give people a smile or make them laugh among the hustle and bustle of city life. I want to see art installed here that gives people peace of mind.”

To appease those who do not find peace of mind from the more questionable pieces of art, South Korea’s Culture Ministry wants a change of scene. It is proposing an art reform bill. Instead of placing art on their properties, owners could contribute a smaller amount of money to a public art fund.

Hongdae Graffiti Alley (홍대벽화거리)

The street art splashed across the sidewalks and walls of Hongdae adds to the energy of the vibrant ambiance of this favorite university neighborhood. Thought-provoking art leaves no space untouched. The messages in the works are deep. The pictures are gripping. The emotions of the artists are almost tangible. For some of the best murals, head to the alleyways surrounding Hongik University.
94 Wausan-ro, Seogang-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82-2-1330

Ihwa-dong Mural Village (이화벽화마을)

A steep walk up the slopes of Naskan Mountain in northern Seoul will take you to Ihwa Mural Village, one of the country’s most famous moon villages. In the span of just a few years, the area has transformed from shanty town to tourist attraction thanks to government-run beautification initiatives. Along the streets that wind through the still-dilapidated homes is a collection of art installations, sculptures, murals and signboards created by over seventy artists. Perhaps the most famous of the works include paintings of flowers and fish cascading down steep stairways and giant portraits splashed across concrete underpasses.

6-18 Ihwa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82-2-1330

Ihwa-dong Mural Village | © travel oriented / Flickr
Mullae Art Village (문래예술촌)
This industrial area of Mullae-dong just south of the Han River is filled with a cacophony of drills and machinery, and is crowded with countless ironworks – not exactly the type of place once might associate with art. But this quickly gentrifying neighborhood is also home to a number of independent cafes, creative venues and hipster hangouts that are undeniably artsy. Each gritty street has its own charm, not to mention colorful murals, and the best way to experience them is by getting lost in the labyrinth of the neighborhood.

Mullae-dong, Seoul, South Korea, +82-2-1330

there are a lot more street art to be found all over Korea.  I will update this as I come across art that is noteworthy.

comments appreciated.  And if you send me your photos I will add them to the list.


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