POSTMODERNISM AND AESTHETICS: COLLIDE OR STEER?
October 10th – December 14th, 2018
Opening Reception: Wednesday, October 10th, 6 - 8 pm
Gallery Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
The Korean Cultural Center New York is pleased to present the final exhibition from its Call for Artists 2018 program. A group of artists in this exhibition, having received prestigious awards from the contemporary art competition held by the AHL Foundation, spent their youths during the 1990s either in the United States or in the Republic of Korea.
This exhibition explores the present status of twenty-two major artists from South Korea currently living and working in the United States. As transnational or immigrant artists, they adapted their artistic sensitivity to the demands of the New York art market, global art biennials, local art communities, or art fairs around the world.
Postmodernism in South Korea gained momentum during the economic boom in the 1990s after the Seoul Olympic Games and the democratization movements. While the fine arts departments at major universities and art markets in Seoul yet maintained a “purity” of high modernism through abstract painting, a younger generation sought out new perspectives and innovative paradigms in art.
When these artists arrived in the late 1990s to study in the United States toward their MFA degrees, postmodernism had already passed its apex. Many artists from South Korea were torn between progressive politics, including institutional injustice, and aesthetic pursuits innate in their artistic sensibility and training. Some turned their attention to conceptual art and embraced a new vocabulary of postmodernism, while others never discarded the intrinsic values and skills influenced by aesthetic formalism.
Artists are divided into groups of popular binary themes of postmodernism and high modernism: appropriation/originality; local/global; simulacra/real; banal/avant-garde; and personal/universal. This does not mean that these works bear significance only within these limited fields; their works resonate versatile denotations beyond these categories. The divisions should be regarded as tinted glasses through which one can decipher an undercurrent flow of historical forces behind the success, failure, recovery, struggle, and tenacity of these artists. Thus, one can discover ingenious ways in which these artists reconciled with or contradicted ideas of postmodernism while each maintained their own criteria of aestheticism.
This Exhibition is presented by the Korean Cultural Center New York, organized and supported by the AHL Foundation, and sponsored by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Joo Yeon Woo
Hong Seon Jang
Kira Nam Greene
Sung Ho Choi
Jung S Kim
John SH Lee
Yaloo (Ji Yeon Lim)
Sang Woo Koh
Tai Hwa Goh
Jang Soon Im
Yeon Jin Kim