The Oddball: Remembering Chan S. Chung through the memories of his friends

September 18 ~ October 31, 2019
Opening Reception & Preview: Wednesday, Sep 18, 6 pm - 8 pm 

Gallery Korea of the Korean Cultural Center New York
460 Park Ave. 6th Floor, New York, NY 10022 

 “New York is my second home. 
New York is not America; New York is cosmopolitan. 
I will bury my bones in New York for sure.” 

- Chan S. Chung during an interview with Professor Suk Won Chang -

Photo by Lim Young Kyun


The Korean Cultural Center New York is pleased to present the first retrospective of artist Chan S. Chung (1942-1994) who spearheaded the avant-garde art movement in Korea during the 1960s and 1970s. From the late 1980s until his passing in 1994, Chung was based in East Village of New York and Greenpoint of Brooklyn, where his junk art and performances were celebrated and still carry on their legacy today.

In his memory, the Korean Cultural Center New York is presenting a retrospective of Chan S. Chung for the first time since his passing 25 years ago, featuring artworks that he gifted to his friends as well as photographs, videos, and archival material of his studio replete with his junk art. His footsteps as a pioneer of performance and avant-garde art genres in Korea and New York and its impact beyond can be traced in a timeline that covers the time from his birth in 1942 to his lasting impacts through 2018.

Dansaekhwa, the Korean monochrome painting movement that emerged in the 1970s, has been gaining undeniable international attention and momentum in the art world in recent years; concurrently, the avant-garde art of South Korea of the same period has been the subject of renewed attention and active research. Korean museums and galleries have attempted to hold exhibitions of Chan S. Chung, but due to the transitory nature of his performance works and difficulty in procuring his junk art pieces, his collections were either not able to be presented at all or were only partially exhibited as a part of Korean avant-garde exhibitions. 

Remembering Chan S. Chung may not be a fully comprehensive retrospective when considering the full scope of artworks and archive materials; however, with the overwhelming support of some of his closest friends including Dae Soo Hahn, Hyung Kee Choi, Jason So, Jae Wee, and Soo-ok Kim and artist colleagues Chong Gon Byun, Young Sup Han, Young Hie Nam, Sung Ho Choi, and Yeong Gill Kim, who did not hesitate to provide never-before-seen materials, this exhibition is ever more meaningful as together, we remember the “oddball genius” that was Chan S. Chung. 

This exhibition came into being with many thanks to Chung’s colleagues and friends who deeply cherish their memories with the beloved artist. The KCCNY expresses its sincere gratitude for their support in every stage of its preparation, as this exhibition would not have been possible without their support.

Miro Yoon