Unique Cultural Space in Itaewon

“Unique Cultural Space Thrives in Itaewon”

Interview with Director Paik Haeyoung of the Paik Haeyoung Gallery


By Emanuel Pastreich

The hills above Itaewon are speckled with handsome homes—many of which are surrounded by high walls hiding elegant gardens. There is one home, however, that is always open to visitors, serving as an artistic commune, where the owner can be found sitting at the table in front discussing art, society and culture with whomever joins her. Her name is Paik Hae Young and her eponymous Paik Young Gallery is a unique experience, a breath of fresh air in an age of commercialism and consumption. Her house is a communal space for artists, those interested in art, children and a variety of like-minded souls.

The Paik Hae Young Gallery is dedicated to promoting Korean artists abroad and introducing international artists to Korea. The emerging artists and established artists who visit here bring with them a tremendous variety of skills. The gallery displays works of art, but also invites  artists to stay in the delightfully airy guest rooms upstairs, creating art, talking about their art and interacting with artists and lovers of arts from all walks of like. We find critics, artists, journalist and professors drawn to this oasis in Seoul.

Opening in 1977, the Paik Hae Young Gallery is a major dealer that introduced important Korean artists to the world. It has since broadened its role from the dealership to agency for cultural affairs including art consulting for corporations, academy program for collectors and architectural consulting.

Remarks Director Paik, “I started as a pianist and was led to start collecting art when I was living in New York in the 1980s. I collected primarily American art and had close relations with, and collected the work of, Korean artists active in New York City.  When I returned to Korea in 1988, I started the



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