Director’s Message

Dear Friends,

“Hallyu! The Korean Wave” opens March 20 to members in the MFA’s Ann and Graham Gund Gallery. The exhibition is exciting and immersive, presenting the story of Korea’s emergence as a global cultural superpower—the phenomenon known as the Korean wave, or hallyu—through art, design, fashion, technology, music, innovation, beauty, and cinema.

The exhibition originated at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2023, and now it’s here at the MFA—its first US venue—and on view until July 28.

If you’re wondering about hallyu and its place at the MFA, to me, this video captures the energy and spirit of the worldwide Korean wave. For still more answers, read on.

What Is Hallyu?

Hallyu is
an exhibition unlike anything we’ve hosted at the MFA
, immersing visitors in a multisensory journey through a fascinating history. It brings a new energy and excitement to the Museum, while also honoring our longstanding commitment to collecting and displaying Korean art.

Hallyu is
a chance for a broad audience to enjoy the MFA’s renowned collection of Korean art
and for our area’s vital and active Korean and Korean American community to partner with us to celebrate Korean art, culture, and cuisine.

Hallyu is
a dream come true for the many super fans of Korean popular music, film, fashion, and drama to enter the worlds of their favorite artists
, through video, costumes, sets, props, and more.

Hallyu is
an opportunity for visitors to take in the rich culture at the heart of modern Korea’s story of remarkable resilience and innovations through technology and design.

Hallyu is
a dynamic demonstration of how cutting-edge fashion and contemporary design are rooted in Korea’s traditional art forms
, whether it’s the understated beauty of a ceramic moon jar or the grace and elegance of a traditional hanbok.

Hallyu is
contemporary Korean American experiences as seen through works by artists
Timothy Hyunsoo Lee and Julia Kwon as well as photographs from staff member Julia Kim. Lee, whose Lotto (sweet child of mine) (2019) reflects his immigrant experience as he grew up between cultures, is also the selected artist for this year’s Community Arts Initiative, “Our Family Portrait,” a large-scale collaboration created with students from 12 local after-school organizations installed in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art in May.

Hallyu is
a celebration of access and connection through welcoming social events and innovative programs.
Starting with MFA Late Nites on March 22 featuring special K-pop performances presented by CJ ENM, the excitement continues with our Member Celebration on April 7 followed by College Night, a free event for college students on April 11. Massachusetts families can see “Hallyu!” for free at the Memorial Day Open House on May 27 and our Juneteenth celebration on June 19. And throughout the exhibition’s run, public programs include a festival of Korean films, a conversation with award-winning author Min Jin Lee, and more.

I hope you’ll join us as we explore art and culture together at the MFA. (Dancing is always encouraged!)

In sum, “Hallyu!” is the MFA: bringing people and art together in a museum experience for everyone: dynamic, colorful, unexpected.

We can’t wait to see you here.

Matthew Teitelbaum
Ann and Graham Gund Director

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