The Rise of K-Pop Album Exhibitions: The New Pop-Up Events Explained
Starting in late 2021, K-Pop stars, including Taeyeon, TREASURE, Winner’s MINO, and VICTON, have experimented with a wave of physical album-focused exhibitions, pop-up stores, and themed cafes held around Seoul.
Feature Images: Left: @yg_ent_official (IG) & Right: @smtownandstore (IG)
Perhaps since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the fan experience to be exclusively online, these new and fresh physical-site events have become incredibly popular with the local fans who can attend. The events have given the artists’ fans a unique opportunity to explore the aesthetic of a record, celebrate with other listeners, and appreciate their favorite artists.
So this begs the question, what exactly are K-Pop Album Exhibitions?
What is are K-Pop Album Exhibitions?
An album exhibition is a presentation held at a gallery or café somewhere in Seoul that, unlike an album showcase, does not need to include the physical and personal participation of the artists with the galleries exhibiting the photos and aesthetic of an upcoming record.
Taeyeon’s “INVU: The Exhibit” (K-Pop Album Exhibitions)
An upcoming event includes SNSD’s Taeyeon is holding an album exhibition starting on the 14th of February for her upcoming studio album to be released on the same day.
The album, titled “INVU,” is the third solo studio album and full-length record released by the Girls Generation member. To get released following her current promotions with the SM super-group “GOT The Beat” for the top-ranking track “Step Back,” Taeyeon’s new solo album is one of the most anticipated female solo K-Pop 2022 albums!
Read more about Taeyeon’s new LP here: Taeyeon Surprises With New LP; Eric Nam Conquers US & UK Pop Charts
SM Entertainment will hold the upcoming album exhibition at Punto Blue Gallery and Café in Seongsu-dong, Seoul. With fans moving through four unique spaces, the event allows visitors to explore the concepts of the new album and its photographs.
MINO’s “CONCEPT EXHIBITON: LISTEN TO PIECES”
Previous album exhibitions include the event held for Winner member and beloved rapper MINO’s most recent album release. The event, titled “CONCEPT EXHIBITION : LISTEN TO PIECES,” was held throughout December 2021 and featured many artist-made artworks and paintings. In addition to the physical event held in Mapo-gu, Seoul, YG Entertainment also included an online exhibition.
A pop-up event, similar to album exhibitions, also allows fans to interact with the music in a way that is only possible in physical locations. By offering interactive experiences, artists and entertainment companies can give fans a fresh way to experience album releases alongside other listeners.
TREASURE’s “‘The Second Step: Chapter One’ Do Treasure Concept Pop-up”
Upcoming pop-up store events include TREASURE’s “‘The Second Step: Chapter One’ Do Treasure Concept Pop-up” to get held at the café in front of YG Entertainment’s building in Hapjeong-dong, Seoul, on the same day as the group’s February album release.
The event celebrates the upcoming album release for the twelve-membered group. The new record will be the first music released by TREASURE in over a year, increasing fans’ expectations for the comeback.
For more about TREASURE read here: Who is TREASURE K-Pop? All About the Members and Music (2022 English Profile)
These events are free to fans wishing to attend, though visitors need to reserve a spot. These reservations can get secured online via SMTown & Store (Taeyeon album exhibition) and Naver (TREASURE pop-up store).
How are these pop-up events different to the pop-up stores of the past?
Although pop-up stores are not new, by focusing on the aesthetic of a single record, these artists are turning the event into a new and fresh outing for fans, different from the pop-up shops held solely for merch sales.
Other artists including, VICTON, MINO (Winner), Onewe, and Moonbyul (Mamamoo), have successfully turned these exhibitions/pop-up stores and cafes into a new and exciting part of fans’ albums experience. Following the success of these events, fans are excited to see how the new format will get integrated by the K-Pop industry.