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Art Busan to focus on local, global markets

April 2, 2024 - 16:46 By Park Yuna
Jeong Seok-ho, managing director of Art Busan, speaks to the press about the 13th edition of Art Busan in Seoul on Tuesday.

Art Busan 2024, the largest annual art fair in Busan, will return in May, strengthening its exhibition program and locality amid a sluggish art market. The art fair also plans to tap into the global art market to expand its brand overseas.

“It is a shame that the art market is assessed on its commercial aspects, although it is understandable. We will continue to do what Art Busan can do with our own programs,” said Jeong Seok-ho, managing director for Art Busan, at a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday.

"Add Two Add One, Divide Two Divide One 2019-27" by Kim Yun-shin (Kukje Gallery)

Shrugging off concerns over the state of the art market, Jeong noted that the Busan art fair is putting in its utmost effort to cement its presence, maintaining its uniqueness as a local art fair in South Korea. As part of the art fair, it plans to stage Busan Art Week for collectors, offering them a tour around the city alongside the art fair.

“A local art fair is really important. We do not have to resort to global art fairs to grow our art scene,” Jeong added. The art fair, inaugurated in 2012, launched a new design fair in Seoul last year.

“We are looking at the global art market to expand our reach next year,” Jeong said, hinting at launching a new art fair overseas -- which could be Art Busan or Define Seoul -- while declining to mention which country or region is being considered.

"Minnie & Daisy" by Mr Doodle (Pearl Lam Galleries)

Art Busan 2024, running from May 9 to 12 at Bexco, will be joined by 127 galleries from 20 countries. The art fair will feature a “Connect” section that includes “Herstory,” a special exhibition directed by Henna Joo, an associate professor at Hongik University. The exhibition will highlight pioneering female contemporary artists in Asia and beyond, including Yayoi Kusama, Xiao Lu, Jung Kang-ja and Cindy Sherman.

The fair's “Future” section will focus on emerging galleries and artists such as Choi & Choi Gallery, Drawingroom Gallery and Atelier Aki. The number of Busan-based galleries taking part will account for 21 percent of all participating galleries, an increase from the previous year, according to the art fair.