• The Financial District


The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the global music industry into uncharted territory where artists are playing live concerts from their homes or featuring remote performances.

Korea Times reported that K-pop artists, who now make recurring appearances on late night shows in the U.S., have been pre-recording gigs from Korea. 

But some have been taking this as an opportunity to introduce Korean heritage and museums by filming performances at the country's major tourist attractions.

Last month, rapper and singer-songwriter CL shared a performance of her latest single "HWA" filmed CBS's "The Late Late Show with James Corden."

Because the singer wasn't able to physically be on the show due to the prolonged coronavirus pandemic, her rendition of the song was filmed at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul.

Her performance was pre-recorded at the "MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2020: Haegue Yang ― O2 & H2O" exhibition and Jongchinbu, or the office of royal genealogy during the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910).

Originally located near Gyeongbokgung Palace, the historical building was moved to Jeongdok Public Library in Bukchon in 1981 but was returned to its original home near the garden at the MMCA in 2013.

Joined by a group of masked back-up dancers, the former 2NE1 member paid tribute to Korean art and heritage, delivering the track's chorus in modernized traditional Korean clothing.

"I frequently visit the MMCA whenever I'm in town. When I expressed my wish to film my performance of HWA at the MMCA to introduce spots that represent Korean culture, they happily accepted my request," CL said during an online press conference for the release of two songs "HWA" and "5STAR."

This could be a win-win strategy for both the artist and the museum, as the latter has seen a decline in the number of visitors following the imposition of preventative social distancing measures. After a lockdown, it reopened in September, but has capped the number of visitors (a maximum of 250) allowed in each time slot. To stay afloat, it has curated the contactless online performance series "MMCA Live."

"We were well aware that CL is a huge fan of Korean contemporary art. This was the first time in the history of MMCA that we collaborated with a K-pop artist for a performance. The MMCA and Jongchinbu are located in central Seoul where modernity and tradition coexist, so it holds so much importance for our culture," a museum official said.

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