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Beth McKillop and Pauline LeMoigne. Tradition and Transformation: Two Decades of Korean Art and Design at the V&A

In December 1992, the Victoria and Albert Museum saw the opening of a dedicated gallery of Korean art, funded by South Korean electronics giant Samsung. The 130-square-metre gallery was the last in a series of fresh presentations of the Asian collections, ranging from India to Japan, undertaken during the 1980s and ’90s. The opening was marked by the publication of a gallery book, and by a special edition of Orientations (December 1992). Since then, the gallery has retained its original structure, with a chronological presentation of ceramics on one side and groupings of dress, textiles and furniture on the other, terminating at the eastern end in an area for contemporary craft and design. This article reflects on significant events in the presentation of Korean art and culture at the V&A over the past two decades, discussing the curators, artists, designers and supporters who have worked with the museum.

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