The first major exhibition to celebrate the colorful and dynamic pop culture of South Korea will make its U.S. debut at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), in March 2024. Hallyu! The Korean Wave traces the country’s meteoric rise from a nation ravaged by war in the 1950s to a leading cultural powerhouse by the dawn of the 21st century.
Over the past two decades, the phenomenon known as hallyu, which translates to “Korean Wave,” has captured a global audience with its transformative contributions to cinema, drama, music, fandom and the beauty and fashion industries. The exhibition will feature more than 200 works—including K-pop costumes, K-drama props and posters, photography and video—as well as immersive and digital displays.
The exhibition will be on view in the MFA’s Ann and Graham Gund Gallery from March 24 through July 28, 2024. An opening celebration will take place on March 22 at MFA Late Nites, the Museum’s signature after-hours event featuring art, music and performances.
Hallyu! The Korean Wave was organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum and will travel to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco after the MFA.
“We’re incredibly excited to bring this exhibition to Boston and to celebrate Korean pop culture, which brings inspiration and joy to millions around the world,” said Christina Yu Yu, Matsutaro Shoriki Chair, Art of Asia. “We’re looking forward to drawing connections between hallyu and our renowned collection of Korean art—and to exploring its impact on American audiences and the Korean American experience.”
Highlights of the exhibition include an array of iconic costumes and props seen in K-drama and film—including the hit Netflix series Squid Game—and outfits worn by different generations of K-pop idols, from PSY to members of BTS, aespa and ATEEZ. High-fashion looks like Munn to streetwear by Darcygom and Ji Won Choi for Adidas, among others, demonstrate how young designers take inspiration from traditional Korean patterns and the silhouette of the hanbok. Additionally, an interactive dance challenge invites visitors to learn the synchronized, sophisticated choreography that is the hallmark of K-pop music.
The MFA's presentation of Hallyu! The Korean Wave will also include objects from the Museum’s renowned collection of Korean art, which encompasses more than 1,000 works and is one of the finest outside East Asia. A new Arts of Korea Gallery opened at the Museum in 2012, showcasing the collection’s strength in Buddhist art and ceramics ranging from the 8th century to today, in addition to spectacular pieces of lacquer and metalwork.
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