MBK chairman makes donation to promote Korean art at New York's Met

Seoul-based private equity firm MBK Partners Founder and Chairman Michael Byung-ju Kim has offered a donation to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to promote Korean art in the museum, the firm said Tuesday.

The donation is part of the Korean Art Initiatives project, which was devised to honor the 25th anniversary of the Arts of Korea gallery at the museum, along with the Korea Foundation and the Samsung Foundation of Culture.

Scholarships and educational programs will help to bolster the presentation of Korean art at the museum. Michael Byung-ju Kim’s donation, in particular, will be used to purchase and collect Korean art to be displayed at the museum.

Thanks to major support through the project, the Met also established a new curatorship for Korean art last month. Eleanor Soo-ah Hyun, who currently serves as associate curator for Korean art at the Met, will be the first recipient of the position endowed by the Korea Foundation and the Samsung Foundation of Culture.

Kim’s latest contribution follows the previous year's $10 million donation for the renovation work of the Met’s new wing for modern and contemporary art. He has also served as an elective trustee at the New York-based museum since 2017.

“I’m honored to support such a world-class collection of Korean art at the Met, sharing them with the global audience,” said Kim.

“We express our utmost gratitude to Michael B. Kim and his wife Park Kyung-ah for their generosity, which will enrich the Museum’s Korean art collection,” said Max Hollein, CEO of the Met, in a statement.

Since 1998, the Met has presented Korea’s artistic and cultural heritage by opening an individual gallery for Korean arts. Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the gallery, the Museum will open the “Lineages: Korean Art at The Met” exhibition this fall, displaying the juxtaposition of historic and contemporary Korean artwork.

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