The new Gallery of Korean Art at the Royal Ontario Museum opened in September 1999. The permanent gallery forms part of the major concentration in Asian Art offered by the Museum. Philip Beesley acted as exhibit designer in collaboration with Bruce Mau Design (graphic design) and a team of curators and interpretive planners within the Museum.
The design of the Gallery evokes the wild mountain landscapes that run along the southwestern shore of the Korean peninsula. Striated granite and shale surfaces are suggested by a paper-thin series of tightly pleated wall shells making sweeping arcs running into the gallery. On these surfaces play projections of landscapes, and poetry rendered in Korean calligraphy. Deeper within the gallery are home-like spaces containing historical furniture and costume displays. Stories of personalities from Korea’s past are featured within a series of niches accompanying these displays. An interactive area is included where visitors can create their own Korean printing to take home. The end of the gallery opens into a high-ceilinged, softly lit room containing a group of religious artifacts.