This study is intended to review the discussions on modernity that were held in Korea's art community in the 1950s. Since the 'art' sector in Korea was regarded as the product of Western modernity, it was taken for granted that acts of artistic creation or criticism within the art system should pursue the Western type of modernity. Discourses in Korea in the 1950s were generally made in the context of Westernism in the pursuit of anticommunism, nationalism and liberal democracy, and against the persisting colonial modernity. Korea's art community at that time was not only in sync with Korea's turbulent modern history, but also led by dominant discourses from the artistic mainstream. Although Korean art critics in the 1950s claimed to be agents of the avant-garde, proclaiming the need for change and innovation, they were, in fact, only on the margins of Korea’s unique modernity, in which Western-centric idealism, transcendental nationalism and political conservatism had been compromised. The modernity of Korea's modern art in the 1950s should be clarified in the context of the characteristics of the type of modernity intrinsic to the political, social and economic mainstream in Korea which have now been recognized in terms of a multiple modernity.