Sunday Morning Coffee [Must See Art in South Korea this September]

Lee Bul, Bells From the Deep, 2014 in Beyond and Between at Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

The exhibition featuring the artists who received the 2014 Korea Artist Prize is now on display through 9 November. Chang Jia (장지아), Noh Suntag (노순택), Kim Shinil (김싱닐), and Koo Donghee (고동회) were selected for the prize. I had the honor of visiting Chang Jia in New York this March and got to see her new work in progress. Here’s a film about all of the artists. Around 18:50 might be of particular interest to my family and friends.

The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art (삼성미술관) in Seoul is having a tenth anniversary exhibition, Beyond and Between, featuring many well known artists from Asia and elsewhere including Ai Weiwei, Lee Ufan (이우환), Kimsooja, Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and others. The aim of the exhibition is to encourage communication with people (e-flux). The online galleries for the exhibition are divided into three parts: Beyond Time, Beyond Space, and Between Art and People. It is open until December 19, 2014.

Mediacity Seoul (미디어시티서울) 2014 began this week. This year’s theme is Ghosts, Spies, and Grandmothers. It runs  through Novemeber 23. You can keep an eye on different events via their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Doosan Gallery Seoul (두산) presents Minae Kim’s (김민애) Black, Pink Balls (검은, 분홍 공) until October 4. Kim is Doosan’s artist of the year. “In this exhibition, the artist seeks to examine the contradiction that arises when one ceaselessly aspires to deviate from and overturn the established order, but can ultimately do nothing but move around inside this order. Within this deliberative process, she seeks to create new meaning.”

The Busan Biennale (부산비엔날레) theme this year is Inhabiting the World (세상 속에 거주하기). “Inhabiting the world is an active attitude, a sign of vitality, the will to act upon the world and change it, and this energy, this fluidity, characterizes the city of Busan.” The Biennale opens on 20 September. For a list of participating artists, see e-flux.

The Gwangju Biennale (광주비엔날레) opened last week and runs through November 9. This year’s theme is Burning Down the House (터전을 불태우라). The Biennale website gives a brief chronological review of the themes from the past starting with the first Biennale in 1995, Beyond the Borders. I will be revisiting this Biennale in the coming weeks with an article about some controversy this year.

Another iteration of the REAL DMZ PROJECT (리얼디엠지프로젝트) began at the end of last month and will run through 27 September. So far the website for 2014 is quite sparse but it does include basic information about the project such as participating artists. If you’re curious to see more, you can look at the archives from 2012 and 2013.

New York Times did an interview with MOMA curator and Korean native, Doryun Chong, about how to approach viewing art in Seoul. He discusses rapidly changing history, the new National Museum of Contemporary Art, and weighs in on preservation.

For general viewing of art in Seoul, South Korea, see the article I wrote for Art Radar Asia last fall.

Posted: September 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Sunday Morning Coffee | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Sunday Morning Coffee [from San Francisco]

Female cartoonists drawing their bodies. I especially like number 2 by Katie Green and number 8 Lucy Knisley. All of the drawings gave me a sense of camaraderie and mutual understanding.

20 Essential K-Pop Songs according to Pitchfork. K-Pop aficionados, do you agree? Are these essential? My K-Pop favorites like Nobody and Sorry, Sorry are a bit dated.

At the beginning of September, the Leeum and Gwangju Biennale are presenting a forum, “Expanding Experiences in Art.” via e-flux

“Enter Pyongyang” is an observational film of the capital of North Korea created by JT Singh and Rob Whitworth. It’s an interesting watch and does show the capital in a less common light. Though, I can’t help but be distracted by what lays beyond the capital and what isn’t pictured.

Despite not living there anymore, Chicago and the people in it are still close to my heart. In honor of that, check out Zane Davis’s new Tumblr dedicated to a Chicago bridge.

For anyone who is curious, I’m based in San Francisco now.

Posted: August 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Body, Sunday Morning Coffee | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

(몸살) “Body Ache” Art Exhibition in Seoul, South Korea

Image above Lee Seung-hoon’s Plastic Surgery #01 via Korean Herald

Momsal (몸살), literally meaning body ache, examines the body as a site that represents the distress and aches of society. According to the Korean Herald, the exhibition at Sungkok Art Museum (성곡미술관) features six artists four of which are South Korean: Shin Je-heon (신제헌), Lee Sun-haing (이선행), Lee Seung-hoon (이승훈), and Black Jaguar (흑표범), and two from abroad: Sigalit Landau (Israel) and Cui Xianji (China). Above and below are some images of the artwork from the exhibition.

Black Jaguar, Giant–Monster, 2013, 150 x 100 cm, Digital Print

The first image in this post,  Lee Seung-hoon’s Plastic Surgery #01, initially drew me to this exhibition. The marks on the people’s faces in the photographs recall battle paint. Cosmetic surgery is in a way a form of battle paint; it distorts the original likeness so that one can achieve greater success, or so they hope. The melancholic expression combined with the quickly painted child-like marks create a layered view into not just the act but also the person. While looking at Lee’s images I came across an opinion piece written for the New York Times by Han Kang about cosmetic surgery in South Korea. Kang describes looking at the before and after images, “Whenever I look at these pictures, it’s the ‘before’ face that I’m drawn to: the face that has been discarded; the one that has disappeared from the world forever.” Read the rest of Kang’s essay here. If you’re interested in more details, here’s some information from the Economist.

Lee Sun-haing, Place to Rest, 2013

It is easy to become distracted by cosmetic surgery when approaching the concept of the body and South Korea. This exhibition appears to have moved beyond that and addressed further corporeal themes. Alongside the images above, there is a bust of Damien Hirst, a video called Mermaids [Erasing the Border of Azkelon], and more. To see further images you can visit the museum website linked above and there is also an essay in Korean about it here.

I initially found this exhibition through The Korean Herald in “Depictions of ‘body aches’ in modern society” by Lee Woo-young.

Posted: April 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Body | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Current Reading List

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From my Instagram taken outside of the restroom at Alternative Space Loop in Seoul

“Pink Writing: P.R.C.-Based Publishing in English on Queer and Pot-Queer Issues” in Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific (Issue 33, December 2013) by Maud Lavin

“Big Flesh, Big Emotions: Jenny Saville’s Paintings And Melissa McCarthy’s Comedy” in The Last Women’s Magazine by Maud Lavin

“The Politics of Identity for Korean Women Artists Living in Britain” in Third Text: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture by Beccy Kennedy

“Bargaining with Patriarchy” in Gender and Society (Sept. 1988) pp. 274-290 by Deniz Kandiyoti

Americanah by  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

Posted: January 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Body, Visual and Critical Studies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Current Reading List

Contemporary Korean Art Roundup

By North Korean artist, Kouk Kun Son, as part of the DMZ International Installation Art Exhibition (2013)

PARA SITE in Hong Kong just opened Great Crescent: Art and Agitation in the 1960s: Japan, South Korea, and TaiwanPart of the statement about the exhibition reads: “A small essay of comparative art history, this exhibition highlights “anti-art” performative tendencies in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan in the 1960s—a decade of turbulence and transformation worldwide, which was also a critical period in the social and political, as well as cultural and artistic histories of the three neighboring countries.”

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea is now open! According to e-flux, “MMCA Seoul will approach citizens as a familiar and inviting museum by leading public-friendly programs, and aspires to be a “comprehensive museum integrating the past and future in the present,” a “central museum for Korean art in enhancing global diversity,” and an “open museum inducing cultural development.” The MMCA website is here. For other contemporary art space in the area click here.

This week thinkers in Korea will be thinking about the Busan Biennale upcoming in 2014: “The Busan Biennale, which is set to celebrate its eighth biennial event in 2014, seeks to explore differentiation strategies in an increasingly competitive global biennale ecosystem and reflect on the characteristics of the ecosystem which can benefit the Busan Biennale and the methods of establishing the system.” via e-flux

A few months ago I wrote a post about art around the DMZ. Projects are continually popping up. Most recently, I ran across DMZ International Installation Art Exhibition (see image above). I found the project via the artist Jung S. Kim who I found through this investment advice.

Posted: November 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Contemporary Korean Art Roundup

Art in Seoul

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Click here to see my most recent post on Art Radar Asia! I review top contemporary art destinations in and around Seoul.

A list summary of the spaces reviewed in the article:

Samcheong-dong: PKMArt Sonje CenterKukje GalleryGallery Simon,  Palais de SéoulOne and J Gallery;  Alternative Space LoopDOOSAN Gallery (in Seoul and New York); Art Space Jungmiso; and Hyeri Art Valley in Paju new the DMZ.

Posted: November 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Art in Seoul

Sunday Morning Coffee [Upcoming Exhibitions and Events]

Image via ACAW

27 August: The Distance Between at the Logan Center Gallery and Arts Incubator in CHICAGO.

5 September: Echo of Echo IIan exhibition of Joo Yeon Park’s work will open at Doosan Gallery SEOUL.

5 September: An exhibition of Sungsic Moon’s drawings will open at Doosan Gallery in NEW YORK.

7 September: Kyoung eun Kang will be part of a group show at NYFA @ IAP at Governor’s Island in NEW YORK. You’ve seen Kang’s work mentioned here before.

19 September: Asian Contemporary Art Week in SAN FRANCISCO.

19 September: EXPO CHICAGO will open in CHICAGO.

21 September: News From Nowhere by artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho at Sullivan Galleries in CHICAGO

5 October: Lee Bul’s exhibition at Mudam Luxembourg will open in LUXEMBOURG. You might know her form her Cyborg creations from years past.

Posted: September 1st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Lifestyle, Sunday Morning Coffee | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Sunday Morning Coffee [Biggby’s with Bob]

Ariana Russell’s Sail via DesignBoom

DesignBoom says, “American artist Ariana Russell responds to the unique components of her skin to draw painless, temporary, and ephemeral designs on her body, the designs visible just long enough to photograph the results. Russell has a skin condition called dermatographia…” Read more of the DesignBoom article here.

The image above is an oddly appropriate transitional image from today to tomorrow. Today is the last day of my vacation, I move from bright blue lakes and warm wind back to the chilly bustle of Chicago. I’m cleaning out my email at Lansing, Michigan based Biggby Coffee with lukewarm decaf. Our vacation was wonderful but I’m looking forward to getting back to SAIC and some writing projects. Ta-ta, summer! Enjoy the links below!

Edward Hopper in 3-D via DesignBoom.

A human harp via DesignBoom. This reminds me a bit of Miru Kim’s Naked City Spleen.

A stunning reaction to devastation via DesignBoom.

Gwangju Design Biennale opens on September 6. Read a quick intro via e-flux.

What’s coming up at Doosan Gallery in New York and Seoul.

Next time I’m in Seoul I really need to visit this space.

Posted: August 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Body, Sunday Morning Coffee | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sunday Morning Coffee [Biggby’s with Bob]

Korean (Artist Made) Craniums

Dongwook Lee’s Vitamin from 2003 via Doosan Gallery

From the press release of his solo exhibition Love Me Sweet at Arario Gallery, “As figure who represents the Korean new wave sculptors early in the new millennium, Lee has contrasted perfect beauty to the violent, uncanny situations that lurk beneath through elaborate and realistic sculptures made of a material called Sculpie. The composition of his works, perfectly modeled and exposed under precise containment, reflect Lee’s tendency to push himself to the very boundaries of controllability.” via Art Forum

Mioon’s Lead Me to Your Door from 2011 via Neolook

Mioon is a collaborative between Min Kim and Moon Choi. I first saw their work in the Korean Eye Catalogue which states of the artists, “In their reading of today’s cultural landscape they reveal the fictional and ideological mechanisms that pervade underneath the surface of things in various forms.”

Hyungkoo Lee’s Face Trace 003 from 2012 via AKIVE

Part of Gallery Skape’s press release for Face Trace, “The artist captures his own various facial expressions and intentionally fragments into several parts. By reassembling them according to the studies of physiognomy, he composes totally different figures. Face Trace is created by overlapping skull structures of several human races and different parts of artist’s multiple facial expressions. This process follows the method of facial reconstruction used in forensic science.” via Art Agenda

Posted: August 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Body | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Korean (Artist Made) Craniums

Sunday Morning Coffee [Things I’ve been meaning to read/write about]

Image of Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show (source)

Article on Art Radar: nudity to challenge state corruption in China, an interview with Kimsooja (who represents South Korea in the Venice Biennale this year), an interview with Afghanistan’s first female street artist,  and finally, I was thrilled to see an article on Young Sun Han! Hang grew up outside of Chicago (and has since lived all over the world). I had the pleasure of meeting him last year. Some of his work addresses his North Korean heritage.

Last spring I had the privilege of seeing Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show at the MCA in Chicago. The experience was shocking, liberating, energizing, and hands down the most intelligent and provoking work I’ve seen on a stage. I also saw a talk with Lee before the performance and met her briefly afterwards, she was humble, intelligent, and gracious. This week I was thrilled to see a piece about her “We’re Gonna Die” on the New York Times. Here’s a clip about it on NYT (I love that the next clip is about Avenue Q) and Lee’s Viemo stream.

I always enjoy immersive art via DesignBoom.

Have you heard of the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania? The name of the museum doesn’t revel the content of the collection: sex and death. Here’s an article about it from the New Yorker.

Doosan Gallery in Seoul just opened the exhibition The Next Generation. Someone go take a peak for me!

Five films for those who are involved in the arts via Art Radar. I show Un chien Andalou to my students the second day of class!

Hazel Dooney on the gallery system.

Some portraits on DesignBoom: Kim Jong Il framed in pink,  colorful x-rays, and lego heads.

A little bit of nepotism, my sister just moved to England and started a new blog to document the experience with her stunning photography and marvelous writing. She used to write here.

Posted: August 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art Review, Body, Sunday Morning Coffee, Visual and Critical Studies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sunday Morning Coffee [Things I’ve been meaning to read/write about]