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Youn Bum-mo to be new director of MMCA

Youn Bum-mo, curator and professor at Dongguk University, has been appointed the new director of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced Thursday.

According to the announcement, Youn will start his three-year term on Feb. 1, filling the post that has been vacant since Dec. 13, when Bartomeu Mari was let go after his term as director. 

Curator Youn Bum-mo (Courtesy of the curator)
Curator Youn Bum-mo (Courtesy of the curator)

The central government started its recruitment process in October and received 13 applications. It eventually shortlisted three Korean curators: Youn; Lee Yong-woo, former president of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation; and Kim Hong-hee, former director of the Seoul Museum of Art.

But the Culture Ministry has been the target of ongoing allegations from some in the local art scene who say the ministry’s recruitment process was unfair, favoring one applicant arbitrarily.

In December, the ministry was reported to have tried to eliminate one aspect of the evaluation process, for which its favored applicant could have received a failing mark. Suspicions were raised after the ministry’s move was discovered, and in response the ministry decided to proceed with the standard evaluation process Dec. 26.

Born in 1950, Youn holds art degrees from Dongguk University and was head curator of a special exhibition at the Gwangju Biennale in 2014. In 2018, Youn led the Changwon Sculpture Biennale.

By Shim Woo-hyun (

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Korea Herald daum