"Ho Sup HWANG -- la force de la main": Korean artist Hwang Ho Sup is exhibiting his paintings and sculptures done using only his bare hands, without any tools. He painted numerous spots on canvases, making them appear like microcosms. In another series, he bent wire nets into the form of a Buddhist statue and placed them over celebrity photos. Hwang`s works seem to contain both oriental and occidental thoughts, as he has spent half his life in Korea and the other half in France. His works on display definitely offer a mix of expensive European paint and microcosm, as well as blue-eyed celebrities and Buddhism. The exhibition runs through today at Seongkok Art Museum in Jongro-gu, central Seoul. For more information, call (02) 737-7650 or visit www.sungkokmuseum.com
"Kang Kang-hun Solo Exhibition": At first sight, Kang Kang-hun`s works look like photographs. When taking a closer look, however, one will notice the traces of delicate brush strokes. Kang, an up and coming artist who is currently holding his first solo exhibition at Park Ryu Sook Gallery, created amazing hyper-realistic paintings. From cigarette smoke to a model`s pores, everything depicted on the canvas is even more realistic than photos. Hearing of the artist`s talents, many celebrities including actor Jeong Woo-seong, Lee Jeong-jae and designer Lee Sang-bong happily modeled for him. Kang is already quite a star artist overseas. The exhibition runs through Oct. 3 at Park Ryu Sook Gallery in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul. For more information, visit www.parkryusookgallery.com or call (02) 549-7575.
"EXPosition of Music -- ELectronic Television": Nam June Paik Art Center is shedding new light on Paik`s first exhibition. After seeing the Vienna Contemporary Art Museum`s show which commemorated Paik`s first exhibition, Lee Young-cheol, director of the Nam June Paik Art Center, decided to hold another reinterpreted version of the exhibition -- which will hopefully be even better -- in Paik`s home country. More than 30 pieces by 21 Korean and international contemporary artists are on display at the exhibition. The work either pays homage or shows some sort of connection to Paik`s work. Some original work by Paik can also be found at the exhibition, including "Zen for TV," and "Tiger Lives." The exhibition runs through Oct. 4 at Nam June Paik Art Center in Sanggal-dong, Yongin city in Gyeonggi Province. It takes about 30 minutes from Gangnam Station by bus. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.njpartcenter.kr or call (031) 201-8527.
"Fashion Ethics `Wear Good`": Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art is hosting the exhibition to suggest an alternative to fast fashion. It is the second in the museum`s cross-genre exhibition series that seeks new artistic possibilities through interactions with genres other than pure art. From six different countries, fashion designers, contemporary artists and even architects got together to present some "ethical clothes" which are made of organic fabric or recycled materials, or those that are produced with third-world labor recruited through fair trade. The pavilion looks like something between a fashion show and a contemporary art exhibition. Most of the exhibits are fanciful, but no more than the designer-labeled clothes seen on runways. The exhibition runs through Oct. 4 at Gyeonggi Museum of Art in Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province. For more information, visit www.gmoma.org or call (031) 481-7007~9.
"Sculpture": Weighty rocks, large iron plates and sticks lay around in the first and second floors of Kukje Gallery. They are Lee Ufan`s works. Lee is one of Korea`s most renowned artists, and also known as a writer and philosopher. Currently, he is holding a solo exhibition in his home country for the first time in six years. It is also the first-ever show featuring his sculptures in Korea. At this show, Lee is showcasing a three-dimensional version of Mono-ha, one of the most important concepts in his works, which is a Japanese movement that criticizes modernism and illuminates the relationship between natural and artificial materials through visual art. In fact, it was Lee who theoretically established the concept in Japan in the 1970s. The exhibition runs through Oct. 9 at Kukje Gallery in Sogyeok-dong, central Seoul. For more information, visit www.kukjegallery.com or call (02) 733-8449.
"Green Utopia": Savina Museum of Contemporary Art provides a short escape from the hot and dusty city with its exhibition "Green Utopia." Thirteen artists showcase 30 works that depict nature in a positive and optimistic light. A mini willow tree forest by Lee Hyun-jean is actually a work of video-recorded willow trees projected onto ribbons, but they look, feel and smell like real willows as you wander through the installation. Beside the willows, Won Seoung-won put up a very refreshing photo of her dream room; under the deep blue ocean a man happily swims with different kinds of fish, while water plants grow in every nook and corner of the room. The exhibition runs through Oct. 24 at Savina Museum of Contemporary Art in Anguk-dong, central Seoul. For more information, visit www.savinamuseum.com or call (02) 736-4371.
"Les Maitres de la Photographie du 20eme Siecle": An exhibition displays about 180 photos by 18 great photographers from the 1920s-1940s, including Andre Kertesz, Man Ray and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. The pioneering photographers known as "avant-garde artists" or better as "enfants terribles" tried everything that could possibly be done in the process of taking and printing a photograph. They distorted the images using mirrors, turned on the light while developing photos in the darkroom and messed with the printing paper. Being in black and white, the photos somehow excite more curiosity. The exhibition runs through Oct. 29 at Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. For more information, call (02) 325-1077.
"The Clue": The third Gwangju Design Biennale came forth to suggest "the clues" that will eventually lead us to better designs. The clues revealed by the biennale can be summed up as "Korean culture" and "good for everyone." The biennale has one main exhibition divided into five parts -- Clothing, Eating, Living, Enlightening, Enjoying -- three special project exhibitions -- Design to Save, Design for Care, Street -- and a "Sing Sing Noraebang," a giant karaoke installed in front of the Biennale Hall. The main exhibition underway at Biennale Hall is the one that sheds new light on Korean traditional and modern culture, and the three special projects introduce nice designs that can satisfy everyone. The Biennale runs through Nov. 4 in Gwangju Metropolitan City. Tickets are 7,000 won for adults, 4,000 won for adolescents and 2,000 won for children. For more information, visit www.gb.or.kr or call (062) 608-4114.
"Portraits of shoes, Stories of feet": This shoe exhibition is from the Romans International Museum of the Shoe which is the sole and the best shoe museum in Paris. A total of 64 shoes dating from the 18th century till now are on show. The collection is diverse, from African shoes, Korean "jipsin," and straw sandals to fancy Chanels.
A funny thing is that only one shoe of each pair came to Seoul due to safety causes. Indeed, the beautiful shoes appear very fragile, and often too small. The exhibition runs through Nov. 8 at Seongkok Art Museum in Jongro-gu, central Seoul. For more information, call (02) 737-7650 or visit www.sungkokmuseum.com
"In the Flower Garden": 63 Sky Art, the world`s highest art museum, is displaying about 50 flower-themed paintings, interactive installations and actual flower works by 40 Korean and foreign artists including Kim Whanki and Andy Warhol. The exhibition is divided into four parts. While the first division, "Beauty Garden," shows relatively ordinary flower paintings, the second and third, "Fantastic Garden" and "Re-creation Garden," exhibit abstract and reinterpreted paintings, plus installations featuring flowers. The final part, "Play Garden" is the most unique with many interactive installations that react to the viewers` voices and movements and make beautiful images. The exhibition runs through Nov. 15 at 63 Sky Art in Yeouido, southwestern Seoul. Tickets are 12,000 won for adults, 11,000 won for adolescents and 10,000 won for children. For details, visit www.63.co.kr call or (02) 789-5663.
"Jean Prouve: The Poetics of the Technical Object": The first-ever and the biggest retrospective exhibition on Jean Prouve in Korea is underway at Daelim Contemporary Art Museum. The show, which came from the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, is held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the world-renowned French architect and designer`s death. About 90 pieces of his furniture, photos, drawings and videos are packed in the three-story museum. Among them, an armchair named "Grand Repos" is something viewers might want to take a good look at. Made in the 1930s, the chair looks simple, chic, yet comfy. But the most amazing part about it is its current price: more than 1 million euros (1.5 billion won). The exhibition runs through Nov. 29 at Daelim Contemporary Art Museum in Tongi-dong, central Seoul. For more information, call (02) 720-0677 or visit www.daelimmuseum.org
"Vienna Philharmnic with Sumi Jo": Acclaimed Vienna Philharmnic Orchestra, led by renowned Indian maestro Zubin Mehta, unites with Korean soprano Jo Su-mi for a concert on Sept. 29 at Seoul Arts Center. Jo will perform diverse tunes including "Mein Herr Marquis" from "Die Fledermaus" and "Je veux Vivre" from "Romeo et Juliette."
The concert is the fifth of the Super Concert series which is hosted by Hyundai Card. Tickets are from 70,000 won to 350,000 won. For details, call (02) 318-4301.
"New York Philharmonic": The renowned New York Philharmonic holds concerts on Oct. 12 and 13 at Seoul Arts Center. Led by its newly-elected musical director Alan Gilbert, the orchestra will play diverse pieces from Beethoven symphony No. 1 to Mahler symphony No. 1. The concert on Oct. 12 features up-and-coming Korean violinist Choi Ye-eun, who together with the orchestra will perform Mendelssohn violin concerto. Tickets run from 40,000 won to 280,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6303-7700.
"M`s `Acoustic & Unplugged": Member of hugely popular boy band and idol group Shinhwa, singer Lee Min-woo will hold concerts titled Acoustic & Unplugged on Oct. 15 to 25 at the Chungmu Art Hall. Tickets cost from 55,000 to 66,000 won. Visit ticket.interpark.co.kr or call (02) 2230-6601.
"Park Hyo-shin`s `Gift": Singer Park Hyo-shin will hold a concert titled Gift, celebrating the 10th anniversary of his debut, on Oct. 17-19 at the Fencing Gymnasium of the Olympic Park, south of the Han River, Seoul. Tickets cost from 55,000 to 99,000 won. Visit ticket.interpark.com or call (02) 2261-1393~4.
"Steel Heart`s Korea Tour 2009": Rock band Steel Heart, famous for the hit single "She`s Gone," is scheduled to play for Korean fans for the first time in 11 years on Oct. 17-18 at the Millenium Hall in central Seoul. Standing tickets start at 88,000 won. For more information, visit ticket.interpark.com or call (02) 543-4728.
"Rain Concert": Hugely popular continental superstar singer and actor Rain will hold a concert titled "Legend of Rainism" at the Olympic Park Gymnasium kick-starting his Asian tour on Oct. 9-10. Tickets cost from 40,000 to 150,000 won. For more information, visit ticket.interpark.com.
"Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra": Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra holds their 195th and 196th regular concerts on Oct. 15 and 16 at Seoul Arts Center and Kyeonggido Culture ＆ Art Center, respectively. The concerts feature renowned pianist Paik Gun-woo and pianist and are led by Kim Dae-jin acclaimed pianist and conductor who serves as Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra`s permanent conductor. Paik will play Rachmaninov`s "The Rock" and Piano Concerto No.4, and Brahms` Piano Quartet.
Tickets run from 10,000 won 70,000 won. For more information, call (031) 228-2813.
"Kathleen Battle": U.S. lyrical soprano Kathleen Battle, often called one of world`s three best for her light and silvery voice, gives her first concert here in 10 years on Oct. 29 ad 31 at Seoul Arts Center. Battle will perform classical tunes including "Ombre Mai Fu" from Handel`s "Serse" and "All Mein Gedanken" from Strauss` "Schlichte Weisen," as well as pop songs like Stevie Wodner`s "If It`s Magic" and "They Won`t Go When I Go."
Tickets run from 50,000 won to 250,000 won. For details, call (02) 548-0733.
"Assassins": A well-known creation by renowned composer Stephen Sondheim, "Assassins" will runs through Nov. 8 at The Stage in Shinchon, Seoul. Depicting the murder of a U.S. President by nine assassins, the show`s 2005 premiere drew much attention not only from musical fans but the general public. This year`s performance features musical actors including Kang Tae-eul and Han Ji-sang. Tickets are 50,000 won. For details, call 1588-5212.
"All Shook Up": The Korean version of a Broadway jukebox musical "All Shook Up," featuring music of rock and roll legend Elvis Presley, will be performed until Nov. 11 at the Chungmu Arts Hall in Heungin-dong, Seoul. Singer and actor Son Ho-young plays the leading role, Chad. The original piece was created by Joe DiPietro, also producer of a hit musical "I Love You." For details, go to www.allshookup.co.kr or call (02) 556-8556.
"Namhansanseong": "Nanhansanseong" hits stage Oct. 14-31 at Seongnam Arts Center in Bundang-gu, Gyeonggi Province. The show is based on the incident of Byeongjahoran, the Chinese invasion of Joseon Dynasty in 1636, but generally relies more on the same-titled hit novel written by Kim Hoon. Although a historic musical, the show is more contemporary, tailored to modern viewers with pop-style singing and other devices, while putting emphasis on the overall style. Yesung of popular boy band Super Junior makes his musical debut playing the lead role Oh Dal-jae. Tickets run from 33,000 won to 100,000 won. For further information, call (031) 783-8000.
"Hero": "Hero," centering around the patriotic deeds of An Jung-geun premieres from Oct. 26 to Nov. 15 at LG Arts Center in southern Seoul, marking the 100th anniversary of An Jung-geun`s assassination of the first Japanese Prime Minister of Korea, Hirobumi Ito, in 1909. The story of An has been told through other artistic genres before, yet it is the first time it has been made into a musical. Musical actors Ryu Jung-han and Jung Sung-hwa double in the role of An. Tickets run from 40,000 won to 90,000 won. For details, call (02) 2250-5920.
"Spring Awakening:" The Tony Awards-winning musical from Broadway premieres in Korea at Doosan Arts Center in Yeonji-dong, Seoul. The show highlights the confrontation between teenagers who have just started to discover their sexuality and adults who try to suppress them with their authority. It discusses diverse topics including abortion, rape and suicide. The Korean production revives everything from the Broadway show. Musical actors Kim Mu-yeol and Jo Jung-suk play the two leading roles, Moritz and Melchior, respectively. It will be shown through Jan. 10, 2010. Tickets run from 40,000 won to 80,000 won. To find out more, go to www.springawakening.co.kr or call (02) 744-4011.
"Legally Blonde": The Broadway musical that revived the film version of the movie with the same title premieres starting Nov. 14 at COEX Artium in Samsung-dong, Seoul. The Korean production features an impressive cast. 2006 Miss Korea Lee Honey, Jessica of girl group Girls` Generation and actress Kim Ji-woo each play Elle Woods who enters Harvard Law School breaking the prevailing stereotype of "dumb blonde." The show runs through March 4, 2010. Tickets run from 40,000 won to 90,000 won. For more information, call 902) 738-8289.
"The Phantom of the Opera": The Korean production of the mega-hit West-end musical, "The Phantom of the Opera," returns through Aug. 8, 2010 at Charlotte Theater in Jamsil-dong, Seoul. A British troupe performed here in 2005 featuring popular musical actor Brad Little as the phantom. This year`s show will be more spectacular than previous years, with a reinforced set and stage settings. Musical actress Kim So-hyun from the show`s 2001 premiere run stars as Christine. Tickets run from 40,000 won to 140,000 won. For details, call (02) 501-7888.
"Long Day`s Journey Into Night": The famous play by Nobel Prize-winning writer Eugene O`Neill goes on stage for the first time in the 37 years since its premiere here. It will be staged at Myeongdong Theater in downtown Seoul through Oct. 11. The piece centers around the process where a family whose members lack dialogue later reconcile and come to understand each other. Cast includes veteran theater actress Son Suk and screen actor Kim Suk-hoon. Tickets run from 20,000 won to 50,000 won. For details, visit www.mct.co.kr or call 1644-2003.
"University of Laughs": The hit play from last year by theater venture group Yeongeukyeoljeon is restaged from until Jan. 31, 2010 at Eda 1 Theater in Daehangno, Seoul. Based on the popular Japanese novel by Koki Mitani, the piece depicts a seven-day confrontation between an inspector trying to ban comic plays and a scriptwriter who values humor above all in his works, and the friendship that later develops between the two. Tickets run from 25,000 won to 40,000 won. For details, call (02) 766-6007.
"Story of an Old Thief": The popular play from Yeongeukyeoljeon returns at two venues -- Daehangno and Gangnam. "Story of an Old Thief," a satirical piece which sheds light on social and political issues with humor, has received favorable responses since premiering in 1989, making actors like Mun Sung-geun and Yoo Oh-sung popular. For this year`s version, veteran theater actors Park Jun-seo and Choi Jae-sup join the cast. The play is showing as an open run at Sangmyung Arts Hall in Daehango and COEX Artium in Samsung-dong, Seoul. Tickets are 25,000 won and 35,000 won. For details, call (02) 766-6007.
"ID": Celebrating the Global Fair & Festival 2009 Incheon, "ID," co-produced by Canadian circus troupe Cirque Eloize and local Showwave Entertainment will run through Oct. 25 at the Big Top Theater established for the show in New Songdo City. The troupe introduced "Rain" and "Nebbia" -- relatively lyrical shows -- in 2006 and 2007, respectively. "ID" is a faster and more dynamic circus set to modern music. Tickets run from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. For details, go to www.id2009.co.kr or call (032) 471-8600.
"World Festival of Theaters": The 3rd annual World Festival of National Theaters will continue through Nov. 4. The festival, hosted by the National Theater of Korea takes place at two venues -- the National Theater of Korea and Myongdong Theater in downtown Seoul. For a detailed schedule and ticket prices, call (02) 2280-4221.