“Christian Marclay: What You See Is What You Hear”: Three of U.S. artist Christian Marclay’s labor-intensive media works are on display at Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art’s Black Box in Hannam-dong, central Seoul. It is the museum’s first “Black Box Project” which aims to introduce world-renowned media artists to the Korean public. The exhibition runs through Feb. 13 at Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Hannam-dong, central Seoul. Tickets are 2,000 for students and 3,000 won for adults. A day pass, which includes all permanent and special exhibitions under way, costs 8,000 won for students and 14,000 won for adults. For more information, call (02) 2014-6901 or visit www.leeum.org.
“Manga Realities: Exploring the Art of Japanese Comics Today”: Artsonje Center, a private art museum which usually presents contemporary conceptual art, has opened its space for a show on Japanese comics. The exhibition attempts a 3-D realization of the comics by adding whimsical props and installations that look like they just popped out of the comic books. It makes the case for why and how manga should be viewed as art. The exhibition runs through Feb. 13 at Artsonje Center in Hwa-dong, central Seoul. Tickets are 1,500 won for students and 3,000 won for adults. For more information, call (02) 733-8945 or visit www.artsonje.org/asc.
“World Stars in Contemporary Art”: If you want to see the big picture in terms of contemporary art, this exhibition would be a fitting choice. While blockbuster exhibitions usually focus on a single artist or group, the exhibition showcases 200 works by 185 world-renowned artists ― from pop art creator Andy Warhol to leader of the younger generation Damien Hirst ― offering an overview of contemporary art. The exhibits are works exclusively designed for Parkett, an acclaimed Zurich-based art magazine. The exhibition runs through Feb. 25 at Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 4,000 won to 8,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300 or visit www.sacticket.co.kr.
“Delpire & Cie”: Though the name might not immediately ring any bells like other Magnum members, Robert Delpire is a powerful figure without whom photographic history cannot be properly discussed. The 82-year-old photographer, publisher and director of exhibitions, films and campaigns has a lot of clout over not only his fellow photographers but also in other cultural realms. The exhibition displays 185 photos by 52 significant photographers who were either friends of Delpire or those who became known in the field with help from Delpire, 150 photobooks and four movies produced by Delpire. The exhibition runs through Feb. 27 at Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 10,000 won. For more information, call (02) 710-0762 or visit www.delpirekorea.co.kr.
“Chang Ucchin Retrospective Exhibition”: Chang Ucchin was one of the most renowned modern artists in Korea. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of his death, Gallery Hyundai and Chang Ucchin Foundation are holding the artist’s big-scale retrospective exhibition. It covers the artists’ whole career from the 1940s to 1990. Chang created simple paintings, reminiscent of those by little children, but seemed to have known exactly which buttons to push to move the viewers ― crack them up, send them lost in childhood reminiscence or even have them burst into tears. The exhibition runs until Feb. 27 at Gallery Hyundai in Sagan-dong, central Seoul. Tickets are 2,000 won for adolescents and 3,000 for college students and adults. The gallery is closed Mondays. For more information, call (02) 2287-3500 or visit www.galleryhyundai.com.
“Self-portrait” by Chang Ucchin whose exhibition runs through Feb. 27 at Gallery Hyundai in Sagandong, central Seoul. (Gallery Hyundai)
“Passion and Solitude: Picasso and Modern Art”: More than 120 paintings, drawings and sculptures by 39 European artists from the late 19th and early 20th century are on display at the exhibition. The exhibits were brought to Asia for the first time from the Albertina in Vienna. Wandering around four exhibition rooms packed with colorful and passionate works, visitors often come across familiar paintings and names as the artist list includes well-known masters like Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Marc Chagall and Amedeo Modigliani. The exhibition runs through March 1 at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Deoksugung, in central Seoul. Tickets are 3,000 won for children, 7,000 won for adolescents and 9,000 won for adults. For details, call (02) 752-3002 or visit www.moca.go.kr.
“Special Exhibition of Chateau de Versailles”: A rare opportunity has come to see some of The Palace of Versailles’ precious treasures in Seoul. The exhibition features 84 works of art and relics that span 200 years of the palace’s history from the 17th century to the late 18th century, including portraits of the royal family and Marie-Antoinette’s golden tableware. The portraits of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI, which are on display as well, are France’s national treasures. The exhibition runs through March 6 at Hangaram Art Museum at Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 13,000 won. For more information, call (02) 325-1077 or visit www.versailles2010.co.kr.
“Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams”: The exhibition features home appliances designed by the legendary industrial designer Rams ― well-known for his influence on Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of Industrial Design at Apple. All 400 exhibits appear timeless and chic, fitting in anywhere, anytime. Rams created many best-selling designs throughout his 40-year-career at Braun and Vitsoe. The 77-year-old retired from Braun in 1997 and received the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2007 for achievements in the area of design. The exhibition runs through March 20 at Daelim Contemporary Art Museum in Tongui-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 1,000 won to 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 720-0667 or visit www.daelimmuseum.org.
“Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra Mahler Series”: Continuing the Mahler fever from the 2010 Mahler concert series, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra is to stage Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and piano prodigy Cho Sung-jin will express Mozart’s tense and nervous Piano Concerto No. 20 on Jan. 21 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall. Tickets are almost sold out but check if there are canceled tickets. For details, call 1588-1210.
“New Year with the Vienna Boys Choir”: The Vienna Boys Choir, boasting more than 500 years of history, is coming from Austria to Seoul to perform a variety of pieces including medieval church music, Austrian folk songs, Korean folk songs, movie soundtracks and latest pop music. The concert is to be held on Jan. 22 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall at 8 p.m. The 25-member choir will be led by conductor Kerem Sezen.
“David Benoit Live in Korea”: Vaunted American jazz fusion/smooth jazz pianist, composer and producer David Benoit will stage a concert in Seoul on Jan. 22 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Benoit has been nominated for five Grammy Awards. In addition to his current smooth jazz career, he is also music director for the Asian American Symphony Orchestra. For details, call (02) 3143-5155
“Joe Hisaishi Asia Tour 2010-2011”: Composer Joe Hisaishi is coming to Korea as part of his Asia tour to showcase his film soundtracks and songs from his albums on Jan. 18-19 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul. He is known for his work with animator Hayao Miyazaki, composing for many of Miyazaki’s films including “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Spirited Away,” and “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.” Hisaishi will not only conduct but play the piano in collaboration with the Korean Symphony Orchestra. Tickets range from 66,000 won to 187,000 won for adults. Under-19s can see it for 55,000 won. For more information, call (02) 518-9272.
“Strauss Festival Orchestra Vienna New Year’s Concert”: The Strauss Festival Orchestra Vienna is to surprise the audience by showing “unexpected gestures” with Strauss’ waltz and polka at the SAC’s Concert Hall on Jan. 20 in Seoul. The 30-year-old orchestra, established by John Strauss expert Peter Guth, has become internationally renowned for its unique “Vienna” sound coming from the unity of Vienna-born artists. Conductor Willy Buchler, who is also the leader of the orchestra, will simultaneously conduct and play the violin to offer familiar rhythms and melodies of “Pizzicato” polka by Josef Strauss and “Voices of Spring” waltz by Johann Strauss II. The VSFO’s concert will be held on Jan. 18 in Jinju, on Jan. 20 in Seoul and on Jan. 21 in Uijeongbu. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 120,000 won. For details, call (02) 599-5743.
“Eric Clapton World Tour 2011”: Legendary British guitarist and singer/songwriter Eric Clapton is set to stage his third concert in Korea at the Olympic Park Gymnastics Gymnasium (Jamsil Arena) on Feb. 20. The blues-rock pioneer will be gracing the stage in Seoul as part of his on-going World Tour in support of his 19th studio album “Clapton.” Tickets range from 180,000 won to 77,000 won. For more information, call Interpark (02) 1544-1555 or visit http://ticket.interpark.com.
“Iron Maiden Live in Seoul”: Rock band Iron Maiden will be on their first ever visit to Korea. The concert will take place at the Olympic Gymnasium No. 1 on March 10, as part of The Final Frontier World Tour. The legendary rockers will be arriving in their specially customized Boeing 757 airliner Ed Force One which, will be transporting the band, crew and their entire 10 ton stage production 50,000 miles around the globe and piloted by lead singer Bruce Dickinson. For more information, visit www.ticket.interpark.com or call (02) 1544-1555.
“Mary J. Blige World Tour in Seoul”: Queen of hip hop soul Mary J. Blige is to hold her first concert in Korea on Jan. 16 at Kyunghee University Peace Hall. Blige’s visit is part of her world tour “Music Saved My Life” and Seoul is the first city she’s visiting in Asia. Making a debut in 1992, Blige has had her four albums ranked top on the Billboard album chart out of her nine official albums. Selling more than 70 million copies so far, Blige has become an R&B queen and hip hop soul. She will sing mega hits such as “Family Affair,” “Be Without You,” and “I Am.” Tickets range from 165,000 won to 66,000 won. For tickets, visit ticket.interpark.com/global or call (02) 3775-1588.
“Taylor Swift Live in Seoul”: U.S. singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is to have her first concert in Korea on Feb. 11 at the Olympic Park Gymnastics Gymnasium at 8 p.m. The concert’s program will be mainly about her songs in the latest album “Speak Now.” Taylor debuted in 2006 with first album “Taylor Swift” and sold 390,000 copies on the first day of the album release. Second album “Fearless” topped the Billboard album chart for eight weeks. Swift won “Album Of The Year Grammy” For “Fearless” in 2010. Tickets range from 99,000 won to 88,000 won. For details, call (02) 3141-3488.
“University of Laughs”: The hit play from last year by theater venture group Yeongeukyeoljeon is showing at Daehangno Arts One Theater as well as at COEX Arts Hall in Seoul as an open run. 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 20,000 to 40,000 won. For details, call (02) 766-6007.
“Mom”: Having moved its total audience of more than 130,000 to tears, “Mom” is a 2009 original stage drama starring veteran television actress Kang Bu-ja and Chun Mi-sun as a mother and daughter coming to grips with years of estrangement. The two take a three-day trip to a rural province where they try to make amends for the past. For more information on tickets, call Ticketpark on (02) 1544-1555 or (02) 333-7203.
“Art”: When an art lover buys what is in essence a pure white painting for a fortune, his best friend goes ballistic. A third friend gets stuck in the middle. Questions about the meaning of strange modern art and strange modern friendships ― and how they’re sometimes not all that different ― fly thick in the limelight. This local adaptation will run until March 31, 2011 at Daehagno Art Madang in Seoul. For details call Aga Theater Company (02)764-8760 or Interpark (02) 1544-1555.
“DREAM”: The National Theater of Korea’s KB Haneul Youth Theater will stage a family show “DREAM” through Feb. 25. Based on the story, “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” the non-verbal show depicts a transformation of Pinocchio from a marionette to a human, with lyrical music and sophisticated stage art. The Haneul Youth Theater is dome-shaped and part of its ceiling can open for natural lighting. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 30,000 won. Performance time schedule varies day to day and there is no show on Monday. For details, call (02) 3477-2513 and for tickets, call 1544-1555.
“Almost, Maine”: An omnibus drama telling eight kinds of sweet and bitter romance is to be staged through Jan. 30 at Art One Theater in Daehangno. The original version by U.S. actor and playwright John Cariani was first staged in 2004 in the U.S. and it is the first time that the original version is staged in Korea. Among the actors is Jeon Hye-jin, wife of screen actor Lee Sun-gyun. She made a comeback after two years of absence due to childbirth. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 30,000 won. Call (02) 747-1010.
“I Like Erotic Women Season 2”: Drama company Sara is showcasing half-drama, half-musical “I Like Erotic Women Season 2” at the Marronnier Theater in Daehangno through Jan. 31. The play has become a sensation among Koreans with main actress Cha Su-jeong’s all-nude acting. The semi-musical was based on the book “I Like Erotic Women” by Yonsei University professor Ma Kwang-soo which was stigmatized as an “indecent book” in 1992. Tickets are 50,000 won. Call (02) 741-0104.
“Coronation Ball”: The musical “Coronation Ball” is currently staged at the Seoul Arts Center’s Towol Theater through Jan. 17. Based on songs from the French musical “Starmania,” the musical tells about different aspects of relationships. The cast includes singer Jinju, actress Moon Hye-young and Yoon Sung-mo of K-pop group Supernova. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 100,000 won. For details, call (02) 2203-0848.
“Singles”: The musical adaptation of the Korean movie of the same title, is showing as an open run at PMC Jayu Theater in Daehangno, Seoul. The show stars Jeon Hye-bin who makes her musical debut here. The musical deals with the lifestyles, friendships and loves of young people. For more information, call (02) 764-8760.
“Billy Elliot”: Based on the Academy-Award nominated film of the same name written by Lee Hall, the musical version of “Billy Elliot” will be staged as an open run in Korea at the LG Art Center as the first non-English production in Asia. Set during the coal miner’s strike of 1984-85 in a working class northern English town, a young boy Billy pursues his dream to become a ballerino in secret. Tickets cost from 50,000 to 130,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3446-9630.
“While you were sleeping”: This homegrown comedic musical is set during Christmas Eve with the disappearance of a paraplegic patient at a charity hospital in Seoul. The mystery plot is centered on the search for the missing patient by a rag tag group of volunteers working tirelessly to get to he bottom of the disappearance. With more than 1700 performances throughout its run since debuting in 2005, the musical has become one of Daehangno’s must-see holiday shows. It is on an open run at the Daehagno Art Madang in Seoul. For details, call (02) 501-7888.
“Aida”: The Korean adaptation of the hit musical “Aida” will begin its limited run on through March 27 at the Seongnam Art Center Opera House. The local version will star Ok Joo-hyeon, Kim Woo-hyeong, and Jung Seon-ah. The popular two act musical is based on Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian-language opera by the same name, the scenario of which was written by Auguste Mariette. The musical was produced by Disney Theatrical, with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang. The musical originated from a children’s storybook version of Verdi’s opera written by the soprano Leontyne Price. For details call (02) 02 577-1987.
“The Song of Mermaid”: Veteran choreographer Kim Sun-hee, who is also professor of the School of Dance at the Korean National University of Arts, will showcase “The Song of Mermaid” to mark the 10th anniversary of the ballet’s premier. The show will be staged five times from Jan. 21 to Jan. 23 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Towol Theater. Her disciples are to celebrate the show and they include Kim Hyun-woong, soloist of the Korea National Ballet Company, and Kim Min-jeong, who topped the 7th Seoul International Dance Competition in July. The 70-minute ballet comes with original orchestral music by Russian composer Dmitri Pavlov. Tickets range from 70,000 won to 20,000 won. For details, call (02) 3216-1185 or visit http://balletmermaid.com.
“Black Box”: The Korea National Contemporary Dance Company will showcase its first production “Black Box” at the Seoul Arts Center’s Towol Theater on Jan. 29-30. “Black Box” is based on eight representative creative works by Hong Sung-yup, artistic director of the dance company. Tickets cost 10,000 won. For details, call (02) 3472-1420.
Dancers practice for “Black Box,” the first production of the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company, to be staged at the Seoul Arts Center’s Towol Theater from Jan. 29-30. (Korea National Contemporary Dance Company)
Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival: From Jan. 21-30, Gangwon Province will be hosting the annual snow festival in Taebaeksan, one of Korea’s most popular mountain destinations. At the Danggol Plaza in Taebaeksan Provincial Park, snow sculptors from around the world will work side by side with Korean sculptors to create a medley of massive snow sculptures on a scale previously unseen. Come and see the iconic symbols of Korea: Taebumi, the symbol of Taebaek, snowflake Nunsongi, Nunkkaebi’s fantastic tunnel, South Pole Pororo’s snow slide, D-war Imoogi’s tube bobsled, and the Taewang Sashingi ice sculpture. An ice sculpting competition open to college students, a Dr. Fish foot bath, snow sledding, a dog sled ride complete with Siberian Huskies, a winter playground, and other fun programs. For more information, call 1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese).
Hwacheon Mountain Trout Festival: Hwacheon Mountain Trout is one of the country’s biggest winter festivals, which attracts more than a million visitors each year. The festival runs through Jan. 30. The highlight of the event is ice fishing. One of the most crowd-pleasing events is the “hand catching competition,” in which participants use their bare hands to catch trout. For more information, visit www.narafestival.com or call (033)441-7574.