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.

Sunday Morning Coffee

Still from Sojung Jun’s (전소정) film Last Pleasure (마지막 기쁨) at Doosan Gallery starting Sept. 4

An important tribute to an inspiring, generous, and vivacious person.  I interviewed Crystal a few years ago to help spread the word about China Residencies. Now an incredibly successful program, China Residencies is one small part of the vast legacy Crystal left this world.  

Ted Lawson creates drawings of his body with his own blood as medium via an IV (via DesignBoom). His artwork includes many different bodies made of various media such as blood, resin, steel, and found objects. Aspects of Lawson’s work are reminiscent of Choi Xooang’s work.

SAIC’s Conversations at the Edge schedule for fall 2014 was just released. Cao Fei will give a talk on October 23. Among many things, Fei is especially well known for the world she created on Second Life. Here’s a tour of it via Art Forum. I’d love to get to Chicago to hear that talk!

An important diagram for people from the United States to keep in mind. We have so much further to go.

“Why I’m Leaving Gagosian” via Art Market Monitor. In regard to the gallery’s impact on the global art market, the author of the article, Kenny Schachter, says, “To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the collectors continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Gagosian is one of the world’s largest and most important galleries and it is too integral to the global art market to continue to act this way.”  

A Journal of the Plague Year. Continental Fear. Islands, ghosts, rebels opened at Arko Art Center in Seoul yesterday. I saw this exhibition last year in Hong Kong at Para Site and highly recommend it. The exhibition features a plethora of artists, some are internationally known like Ai Weiwei. The exhibition, “… departs from and remains strongly connected to an exploration of the events that affected Hong Kong in the spring of 2003: the most significant airborne epidemic in recent years, the SARS crisis, coupled with the tragic death of pop figure and pan-Asian icon Leslie Cheung” (e-flux).

Sunday Morning Coffee [Masculinity]

Image from Joseph Maida’s series New Natives (Hawai’i)

Huffington Post’s article, “8 Scantily Clad Reasons To Rethink Your Understanding of Masculinity” written by Priscilla Frank. Reviewing Joseph Maida’s photographs, “Far removed from your typical headshot, Maida’s photos capture the wide variety of men who happen to find shelter on the tropical islands, combining blatant sensuality with traditionally masculine and feminine poses.”

Knife and Fork shared an interesting article about male eating disorders posted on Jezebel, “I’m an Alcoholic Dude With an Eating Disorder. Hi.” written by stand-up comedian Jamie Kilstein. In a comedic but poignant tone Kilstein explains, “I would tell people that if they ever did a Behind the Music-type special on me, it would be the lamest one ever. Instead of a heroin or a crack addiction, it would just be me on the road after a gig, naked in a bathtub, surrounded by stuffed crust pizza boxes sobbing into my phone, ‘YOU DON’T KNOW ME!'”

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the male body in contemporary South Korean art for Art Radar Asia. I touch upon the urger to prefect the body and ways artists alter the actual human figure through their art.

On a different note, take a look at this man’s collection of Barbie dolls!

As I write this post some artists come to mind such as Dutes Miller, this exhibition, and of course some of these dudes. Speaking of, have you seen Ai Weiwei’s latest? According to Art Radar Asia, “… bloody performances, simulated sex and government repression can still provoke art audiences.”

If you’re interested, here’s some recommended reading regarding South Korea and masculinity: Sun Jung’s Korean Masculinities and Transcultural Consumption: Yonsama, Rain, Oldboy, K-Pop Idols and Stephen J. Epstein and Rachael M. Joo’s article “Multiple Exposures: Korean Bodies and the Transnational Imagination.”

Famous Faces

via Art Daily

Pictured above, Anton Corbijn poses infront of his photographs of Ai Weiwei (left) and Damien Hirst (right). According to ArtDaily other artists in Corbijn’s series include Gerhard Richter, Alexander McQueen, Richard Prince, Iggy Pop, Anselm Kiefer, Tom Waits, Peter Doig, Bruce Springsteen, Lucian Freud, and Karel Appel.

On another note, Ai Weiwei’s dioramas of his time imprisoned by the Chinese government and don’t forget his new single “Dumbass”.

Sunday Morning Coffee [Toys, monologues, hard rock, and more!]

GLOBAL: Above portraits by Gabriel Galimberti of tykes and their toys from around the world via Cup of Jo

SEOUL: Vagina Monologues in Seoul! To prep, read a few of the books from this list. Both via The Grand Narrative

BEIJING: Ai Weiwei is releasing a hard rock album?!  via Art Daily

SHANGHAI // MALAYSIA: More creativity with food by Hong Yi (Red) via DesignBoom

SWEDEN: H&M uses more life-like mannequins and creates an “Internet Praise-a-thon” via Knife & Fork and a bit on models’ labor rights.

ITHACA: Movement: The Body and Object in Motion, the Cornell University Art History Graduate Conference for 2013

VENICE // SEOUL: Kimsooja will represent South Korea at the 2013 Venice Biennale. See the full list of artists here. Kim Seung-duk will curate the South Korean pavilion. Via the Korea Herald and the Gallerist NY

HONG KONG: Sotheby’s Hong Kong will hold a contemporary Asian art sale on April 5, 2013 via Art Daily 

Sunday Morning Coffee [blind-ness, blind-ed, un-blind, blind-er]

Kara Walker will be at the AIC in February!

Today I’m visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s exhibition Color Bind: The MCA Collection in Black and White. As the MCA’s website says, “With dozens of works in all media, Color Bind muses on the ways the English words “black” and “white” evoke both simple formal notions and metaphors for race, politics, and historical movements. Set to coincide with the recent US presidential election, this exhibition calls attention to the ways seemingly neutral formal terms assume moral dimensions that, in turn, complicate and politicize the very works assumed to be neutral.” 

To prep for my trip to the museum I read part of Linda Alcoff’s Visible Identities and this quick discussion on Art Info with Christopher K. Ho and Roger White about the idea surrounding Ho’s exhibition “Privileged White People” at Forever & Today, Inc. in NYC.   

In light of the Oscar nomination list being released: NY Times, “Female Directors Gain Ground, Slowly.” Alison Klayman, the director of Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, was featured in the piece. I can’t wait to hear what Coming off the Reels has to say about it.

“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” Questions


On Tuesday evening I was invited to watch the new film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry streaming in my living room. I invited a few friends over and hosted an intimate screening. The first two-thirds of the film consisted of documentation I had seen from various short films about Ai Weiwei (such as Ai Weiwei: Sunflower Seeds and Who’s Afraid of Ai Weiwei?) but the last part included some clips I hadn’t seen. Regardless, the film was well put together and informative and paints a picture of Ai Weiwei. Though his art is clearly a main thread of the film, they put great emphasis on him as a dissident in China. After the screening director, Alison Klayman, hosted a breif qestion and answer session. I didn’t have time to squeeze a question in and would like to share some of my questions here. Full disclosure, many of my questions are based on a class a took last semester called Post Asia. If you’re interested in a more thorough review read this article on Art Journal. I definitely recommend seeing it in the theatre when it is released in July.

My questions:

Is Never Sorry showing in China? Does the Chinese public have access to and know about Ai Weiwei’s actions?

I am curious about language. So much of the film is in English and the majority of the tweets highlighted in the movie are in English. Despite that, many of Ai Weiwei’s works comment on Chinese culture and people.

Who is Ai Weiwei’s audience? Does the group he is representing have access to the sources (Twitter, Blogging, etc.) that he uses to promote his ideas?

Finally, I want to congratulate Alison Klayman. She chose to tackle incredibly volatile subject matter and she executed it beautifully. I greatly look forward to her next project.

Sunday Morning Coffee (Pink Splash on a Monday Morning)


Disco in downtown Chicago!

Ex-North Korean artwork shown in the U.S.

Speaking of North Korea, please check out this project! Young Sun Han is an SAIC grad and currently lives in Chicago. Some of his family is from North Korea and a portion of the proceeds from his sales go to Life Fund for North Korean Refugees. (Yes, Zane Davis, I am highly recommending you watch the short video.)

On the Wallstreet Journal Blog, Singapore Considers “No-Censorship Zones”

Art Radar’s 16 most searched Asian artists from July-December 2011. It looks like Ai Weiwei was number one but they also reported a surge in searches for Korean artists (I hope thats not just me doing thesis research!). Lee Yong-baek is number 8 on the list, I am in the midst of writing a chapter on him.

Sunday Morning Coffee (Sunny and Cold)


The Barbie above was made by Jocelyne Grivaud. This piece about Grivaud’s work was brought to my attention by Hazel Dooney on Facebook. Dooney’s response to Barbie is here.

“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” successfully debuted at Sundance!

During some thesis research last week I was reminded of Changwon Lee’s work I saw for the first time in 2009. It is great in a photo and even better in person.

Remember when I did the Body Project at IKEA in Beijing? Here is more IKEA art. If you like it you can support the Kickstarter.

Sunday Morning Coffee will soon become a Jewsroch family pastime! Keep your eyes posted here.

Have a great week!

Sunday Morning Coffee (Beer Tasting)

Robert Mapplethorpe’s Derrick Cross, 1983

Betsy, I though you would enjoy this artist’s work!

Liumang Yan is speaking up for sex workers in China, she is also one of the women in One Tiger Eight Breasts with Ai Weiwei.

More on affordable art!

This article is about scandalous muses.  I would have added Robert Mapplethorpe’s models to the list. If you are interested in Mapplethorpe and his muses you should read two chapters by Kobena Mercer on Mapplethorpe’s work. To summarize briefly, in the first chapter Mercer is quite angry about the objectification of the models in the photographs. A few years later he wrote a second article revisiting his initial reaction and accepting the work.

“What is ahead for contemporary  Asian art, 2012, and beyond?” Part II.

Yesterday I went to a great pannel at SAIC called “Getting on the Map.”  Sharon Louden moderated a conversation with Carron Little, Mark Jeffery, Judd Morrissey, and David Parker.

There is a horse hanging from the ceiling at the Guggenheim in New York!