Sunday Morning Coffee

Byeong Sam Jeon’s Dialogueye II (2013)

Byeong Sam Jeon (전병삼) is giving an artist talk at SAIC  this afternoon. Based on a visit to his website, I was intrigued by Wind From West (2014) and Dialogueye II (2013).

“Don’t be that dude: Handy tips for the male academic” by Tenure, She Wrote.

Should this be NSFW? Calling on Jenny Saville, Egon Schiele, and Lucian Freud!

10 female artists from Nepal via Art Radar.

Sung Hwan Kim (김성혼) at Art Sonje Center (아트선제센터) from 30 August to 30 November via e-flux. According to e-flux, “The title of the exhibition, Life of Always a Mirror, is a play on words in Korean on a Korean elementary school textbook’s title, Joyful Life. This method of education merges music, art, and physical education into a single subject as a didactic gesture in public education that teaches the youth not only knowledge but also the way they should lead a joyful life.”

Along with a salute to my former city, I should share that I plan to attend an event with Jung Rae Bae at the Asian Art Museum here in San Francisco.

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.

Sunday Morning Coffee [Skin]



Miru Kim’s Composition 4 via the artist’s website.

Read more about Miru Kim (above) in the article I wrote a few months ago.

Fashion, science, cloning: Hybrid Skins. “The creepy, animalistic pieces envision a time where the body and nature are able to be copied and personalized.” via DesignBoom

Carefully splashed milk as adornment.

Last week my students and I visited Think First, Shoot Later at the MCA. We had a fantastic discussion about Gillian Wearing’s Self-Portrait at Three Years Old (2004). Look at her eyes.

GIFs of aging.

If I had a million dollars…


The above image is not part of the auction but many other treasures are. See below.

On September 26, 2013 Wright begins the auction “Living Contemporary”. It’s fun to take a minute and pick out what to bid on. I went a little overboard.

I’d bid on this (Moriyama lips), this (Lichtenstein pyramids), this (Cassigneul lady at a cafe), this (Dufy), this (Fischl), and this. It’d be fun to have a Warhol, too. Oh, and this, because of my name and a nude body!

Some of my selections would be for the Art History geek in me. The others, explore the body in some way or would look great with our red and white enamel table.

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.

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.

Welcome to the Jewsroch’s!

Screen shot 2013-05-27 at 3.04.32 PM

My multitalented friend, Alexis Buryk, recently posted a tour of our apartment on Apartment Therapy. She took some incredible photographs that really made our space look great–I wish I could always see through her lens! Alexis also wrote an article about our priorities when it comes to decorating and building a home together. I’ve always wanted to put together a post about our growing art collection done on a budget, I think this does the trick.

Alexis says, “Art leads the way in Kate and Chad’s colorful and curated Chicago home. Working with a simple, open layout, with white walls as their canvas, the couple bases their apartment design on what matters to them most.” To read the rest and view the images click over to “Kate & Chad’s Art-Filled Dwelling” by Alexis Buryk for Apartment Therapy.

Thank you, Alexis!

Layers of Seeing: Minouk Lim’s Fire Cliff 4

This post was originally published on Sixty Inches From Center.

In his famous speech from 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. professed his dissatisfaction with the status quo of equality in the great United States of America. Fifty years later, inspired by Dr. King, South Korean artist Minouk Lim inserted herself into the conversation of race and equal rights in the United States. In doing so, Lim guided the audience through a performance that freed fixed and multi-layered notions of the visual.

Lim’s Fire Cliff series (2010—present) transpired organically. When she began the series Lim was reminded of moments in history of self-immolation as protest—specifically labor protests in South Korea during the dictator-like reign of former President Park Chung Hee in the 1960s and 70s. According to Lim, the individual protestors became glimmers of hope and reminders to the people. Activists make statements, they stand apart from the masses; it’s as though they are at the top of a cliff, which serves as a stage for their performance. Hence, “fire” is a reverent nod to essential activists and protestors, and “cliff” refers to the stage from which they expound. The series responds to physical surroundings and social issues in various ways.

Image courtesy of Hyde Park Art Center

The iterations of the series are specifically crafted and researched, culminating in multi-media productions. Fire Cliff 1 (Madrid, 2010) was an installation and sound performance based on Lim’s research and interviews with former tobacco factory workers who were part of a labor movement that was sparked in the very factory in which they worked. Fire Cliff 2 (Seoul, 2011) was an onstage performance with a South Korean who, along with many others, was falsely accused of being a North Korean spy. This took place in the very building where the torture occurred, which is a theater today. Fire Cliff 3 at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, 2012) was an esoteric collaboration with a local choreographer involving materials such as a large aluminum box, wearable sculptures, and infrared video. Fire Cliff 4 (Chicago, 2013) was part of Lim’s residency at Hyde Park Art Center and her simultaneous participation in the IN>TIME Performance Festival. For the performance Lim collaborated with African-American, Chicago-native, and musician Chris Foreman at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. Lim was the director behind the scenes, and Foreman faced the audience.

Preceding a plethora of curated material at the start of Fire Cliff 4, Lim guided Foreman to the stage where he sat down and gracefully took in his surroundings through touch and sound. Mr. Foreman is blind. With Foreman as the audience’s guide, Lim directed a performance that unfolded a packed experience that was not dependent on visual experience.

Image courtesy of Hyde Park Art Center

Fire Cliff 4 was a menagerie of poignant sounds, words, and sites interwoven to create a critique on that which we perceive as merely visual. The aural part of the performance included a Zoltán Kodály cello sonata, Johnny Cash’s “She Came From The Mountain”, The Doors’ “Light My Fire”, various incidental music (including that from baseball games, theme music from the cartoons The Jetsons and The Flintstones, and game shows), music by Jimmy McGriff, church-style organ improvisation, and clapping. The sounds were conveyed through a mix of recordings and Foreman playing the keyboard. The words delivered included a passage from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Colloquy of Monos and Una, a chat with Foreman about his life and incidental music, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, which was first played over the speaker system and then read by Foreman using brail. The lights were curated in a way that made the audience conscious of a blind person’s experience. For example, the lights were off during the recording of Dr. King’s speech, but the lights were on while Foreman discussed and demonstrated incidental music. The layers of material were topped with Lim’s fluorescent and neon, liquid infrared video. As the materials knitted in and out of each other, each act was punctuated with lightless, pregnant pauses, moments for contemplation, in the dark and in silence.

The material inspiring Fire Cliff 4 became increasingly powerful when performed by this blind, African-American musician. Lim’s choice to collaborate with Foreman was motivated by her interest in blindness and the idea of “seeing” without vision, or “tactile vision” as she calls it. As Lim prepared the performance, the depth of Fire Cliff 4 grew as she discovered Foreman’s musical talent. Foreman’s skin color was not a factor in his participation but did create yet another layer of depth combined with the powerful material Lim chose.

Image courtesy of Hyde Park Art Center

Guiding the audience through exercises of metaphorical blindness, Lim simultaneously awakens conversations of race and visual normativity. When describing an experience we habitually use visual words based on the assumed mutual experience of site. In Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self (2006) Linda Martín Alcoff states that, “Though the commonly accepted definition of race explains it by ancestry, the ideology of race asserts its impervious visibility, despite the fact that the two are not always in sync” (196). Racial identification may begin with visual information, but it is also a combination of culture, tradition, and history.

Imagine sitting in a dark room and listening to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 “I have a dream” speech. His voice rolls through the darkened room as though he were standing before you. He is still poignant, clear, and inspiring. The room is dark enough to encourage the listener to close his or her eyes and let the words cascade into their ears, attempting to remove oneself from the distractions of the visual world. King proclaims, “One hundred years later [after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation], the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.” His eloquent descriptions of the United States at that moment are filled with brutally honest yet unfailingly hopeful metaphors. “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” Darkness allows the mind to paint a picture. What would that picture be if the observer had never actually seen a mountain or valley? One may understand the words intellectually, but can he or she truly grasp the profundity of the Dr. King’s description? The picture verbally painted is a collection of rich, non-visual elements that are, in turn, harnessed by Lim.

Image courtesy of Hyde Park Art Center

The inclusion of the Martin Luther King, Jr.’s renowned speech in Fire Cliff 4 unavoidably shifts the lens to race in the United States. It highlights a racial binary, black and white, that is a terrible pillar of U.S. history—one that shows regression instead of progression, ignorance instead of compassion. Some may think that fifty years later Dr. King’s speech is almost too poignant and timely. Others may hear it and reflect on the progress that has been made. His speech wasn’t meant to be timeless, but in a way it is.

Following the “I have a dream” speech, in the final portion of Fire Cliff 4, visual logic is obscured again with Lim’s infrared video. This time it’s a more familiar viewing scheme, almost like a silent film. Foreman played along on the keyboard as Lim’s video splayed ahead. The abstracted neon images flowing before the audience were not directly discernable, but once could detect the form of a body. That body was not black, white, or any other categorical skin tone, instead the body glowed, flowed, and changed based on an external element—temperature. In a more traditional “viewing” scheme Lim shows a body that cannot be classified through mere visual perception.

Image courtesy of Hyde Park Art Center

Through her performance Lim invited the audience into a “blind” practice of seeing. Removing one familiar layer, she created an experience that heightened the effects of conventional visual modes of seeing. When Lim invited the audience into the darkness a visual veil was lifted—darkness creates a productive space that allows one’s experience to move beyond the visual—an experience that is not often had by someone who isn’t blind. While freeing perceptions on seeing, Lim refocused the lens framing how we see each other.

Review of Above and Beyond the Clouds

This post was originally published on Sixty Inches From Center

Xiaowei Chen manipulates minute ink lines into vast expanses and surreal scenery. Chen’s solo exhibition, “Above and Beyond the Clouds,” curated by Jiankun Xie at the Research House for Asian Art in Bridgeport, Chicago, literally revolves around her vast and exquisite drawing, Detached Clouds (1.2m. x 32 m.), which spreads almost the entire length of the gallery. The drawing serves as the focal point of the exhibition with her smaller artworks around the periphery of the space.

Xiaowei Chen, Thinking Balance, ink on paper, 15″ x 15″, 2008 (Image courtesy of Jiancun Xie)

In Detached Clouds, Chen used layers of super-fine ink lines and colored pencil on white fabric to detail the space before, between, and amongst the clouds. Beginning with an immense cascade of ice, the work melds into the sea, an expanse of mountains, and a landfill, and then eventually becomes the abyss of space that exists beyond the earth’s surface. This space is at least one-third of the drawing, a striking expanse of textures and patterns one encounters when she takes flight. As the eye moves up the fabric, the artwork gracefully extends from the floor toward the ceiling. As the abyss preceding the sky lightens, delicate bright sky-blue lines work into the fabric, eventually becoming a saturated layering of the color. This work is grand both from afar and up-close, guiding the viewer to the sky.

The distinct mark making in Detached Clouds also composes Chen’s nine-panel work, Comet in the Night  (12 in. x 12 in. each), and her large-scale works Halo I, Halo II and Halo III. Though precision remains key, Chen’s line drawings such as Anatomy of a Cloud, 9 Months and 10 Days, and Viewing maintain intricate use of line. Instead of creating depth with texture, Chen draws fantastic dream-like imagery and gnarly organic shapes twisting into each other that, because of the acute detail, provide an optical puzzle for both the mind and eye.

“Above and Beyond the Clouds” closes April 5, 2013.