Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea, Asia

Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

Leeum Samsung Museum of Art

Top choice in Itaewon & Yongsan-gu

Amid the celebrity-owned apartments on the leafy southern slope of Namsan is Korea's premier art gallery. Beautifully designed and laid-out, it balances modern and contemporary art with traditional Korean art across its three distinct areas. The big draw is Museum 2, a rusted stainless-steel structure designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, showcasing early- and mid-20th-century paintings, sculptures and installations by esteemed Korean and international artists, including Nam June Paik, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons.

Museum 1, a fortress of terracotta bricks by Swiss architect Mario Botta, has four floors of Korean painting, calligraphy, ceramics, metal and wood craft and Buddhist art covering the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties. The museum’s third area is devoted to special exhibitions. Getting an audioguide is highly recommended, or you can visit 3pm weekends for the free 1½-hour tours in English.

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