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Hallyu! The Korean Wave: March 24–July 28, 2024

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston


From tradition to trendsetting

Today, South Korea is a cultural superpower—a global trendsetter producing award-winning films like Parasite, riveting dramas like Squid Game, and chart-topping music by K-pop groups such as BTS and BLACKPINK. But behind the country’s meteoric rise to the world stage—a phenomenon known as the Korean Wave, or hallyu—is the story of remarkable resilience and innovation.


Just a century ago, Korea was in search of a new national identity, following its occupation by Japan and the Korean War. Harnessing cutting-edge technology, the country has rapidly transformed its economy and international reputation. At the same time, its creative outputs are deeply rooted in its past, with many contemporary artists, filmmakers, musicians, and fashion designers paying tribute to traditional values and art forms dating back to Korea’s dynastic kingdom days.


“Hallyu! The Korean Wave” features approximately 250 objects—costumes, props, photographs, videos, pop culture ephemera, and contemporary works. Among the highlights are outfits worn by different generations of K-pop idols, dresses by couture designer Park Sohee and Next in Fashion winner Minju Kim, a large-scale needlework designed by South Korean artist Kyungah Ham and made by anonymous embroiderers from North Korea, and pieces exploring the Korean American experience by Timothy Hyunsoo Lee and Julia Kwon. Additionally, the exhibition showcases objects from the MFA’s own renowned collection of Korean art, from examples of the iconic moon jar and hanbok to an elaborately decorated gilt bronze case for sutras, the sacred Buddhist texts.


Join us on an immersive and multisensory journey through a fascinating history, and celebrate a vibrant creative force that bridges cultural, societal, and linguistic divides and continues to reach new heights today.





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