The Movement of Herstory: Korean Embroidery The Life and Artworks of Young Yang Chung

Korean Cultural Center New York presents
The Movement of Herstory: Korean Embroidery The Life and Artworks of Young Yang Chung

Thursday, March 2nd to Thursday April 27th 2017
Gallery Korea at the Korean Cultural Center New York
(460 Park Ave 6th Floor, New York, NY 10022)
Opening Reception on Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 6 - 8 pm
Private Press Preview on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 5 - 6 pm

New York, NY - Korean Cultural Center New York, a branch of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) of the Republic of Korea, is pleased to present The Movement of Herstory: Korean Embroidery -- The Life and Artworks of Young Yang Chung at 460 Park Avenue, 6th floor from March 2nd to December 16th, 2016. An opening reception will be held on Wednesday, March 8th from 6 pm to 8 pm. Embroidery, rooted in the long history marginalization as utilitarian “women’s work,” has evolved over the past years to a higher form of textile arts.

Korean embroidery and its technical, aesthetic excellence have been brought to light by the artist, pioneer, and historian, Young Yang Chung. Small needles and homespun silk threads proved to be immensely powerful in her hands as the tools that not only proved to be a creative outlet, but a means as a viable vocation for Korean modern women. Boldly crossing the threshold of the women’s quarters (gyubang), Korean women have created a movement by breaking boundaries - both physically and metaphorically - through the vehicle of embroidery. Elevating the gyubang culture of Korean embroidery, Chung’s ability to “paint with needles” has garnered worldwide attention as she has advanced an art form conceived as women’s work to an important part of textile arts and history. The Movement of Herstory is a look into the legacy of Korean embroidery through the life and artworks of Chung, now an indelible part of Korean herstory. Michael Findlay, Director of the Acquavella Galleries has said, “By both honoring and challenging centuries-old methods and styles of textile designs, [Dr. Chung] has elevated craft into what in her hands is most certainly art.”

Unification (10-panel folding screen) with detail Young Yang Chung Korea, 1960s

About the Exhibition Gyubang (규방, 閨房), meaning “women’s quarters” or “boudoir,” was an exclusive space in Korean traditional homes. From the Three Kingdoms period of Korea (57 BC to 668 AD) and well into the Joseon Dynasty (1392 to 1897 AD) when conservative Confucian ideals greatly limited women’s activities outside the home, the space of the gyubang was the only place where women could develop their creativity. Gyubang culture became synonymous with women’s handicrafts, embroidery being the most representative form.

Crossing the threshold of the gyubang, Korean women have created a proactive movement by breaking the boundaries of the woman’s space - both physically and metaphorically - through the vehicle of embroidery. The woman who led the way is artist, pioneer, and historian, Chung Young Yang. Elevating the gyubang culture of Korean embroidery, Chung’s ability to “paint with needles” has garnered worldwide attention as she has devoted her life to advance an art form conceived as women’s work to an important part of textile arts and history. Traditional Korean society confined women to the domesticity as Confucianism was the prevailing social ideology, especially during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), resulting in pronounced male domination. Girls were taught the virtues of daughterhood, wifehood, and motherhood, with primary roles designated within the space of the home. With the opening of the country to the outside world in the late 19th century and as modern schools were introduced to the peninsula, women began to engage in the arts and education, and in turn, public life. With the establishment of the Republic of Korea in 1948, women achieved constitutional rights for equal opportunities to pursue education and public work. The female labor force contributed significantly to the rapid economic growth that Korea achieved during this time, as increasing numbers of women engaged in professional fields. With economic development of Korea as a whole, participatory democracy, and expansion of welfare policies, women showed significant contributions to society. In 1998, the Presidential Commission on Women’s Affairs was established and in 2001 expanded to become the Ministry of Gender Equality. About Young Yang Chung Drawn to embroidery from childhood, Chung says that needle and thread “proved to be powerful, lifechanging tools that carried me along a fascinating pathway across time and geographic region.” During Korea’s difficult period of post-war reconstruction, she harnessed this art form to positively impact the lives of many Korean women. She established South Korea’s first government-sanctioned vocational embroidery school, The Women’s Center, and nurtured a new generation of Korean embroidery artists. The quality of Chung’s embroideries attracted attention in Korea and abroad, leading to commissions to produce works for the presidential palaces in South Korea, West Germany, and Malaysia. After completing her PhD studies at New York University, she published a series of books that have become invaluable references for the field, and she has taught and exhibited her work throughout the world. In 2004, she founded the Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, and in 2011 she established the Seol Won Foundation, which seeks to advance knowledge of the textile arts while promoting cultural understanding between peoples East and West. The exhibition explores the legacy of gyubang embroidery through Chung’s life trajectory and artworks, now an indelible part of Korean herstory


RELATED EVENTS

All Events will be held at the Korean Cultural Center New York
(460 Park Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10022)

Friday, March 17th, 2017, at 6:30 - 8 PM
Free Program | RSVP Required

Special Lecture with Curator Lee Talbot
The George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum in Washington D.C.

This illustrated lecture will examine the life story and artistic output of world-renowned embroiderer and textile historian Young Yang Chung. With masterpieces housed in museum collections and presidential palaces worldwide, Chung has endeavored to preserve and develop the art of Korean embroidery while enhancing its recognition as a significant contribution to world culture.

6:30 – 7:00 PM Performance of Korean Traditional Music and Dance
7:00 – 8:00 PM Lecture


Saturday, March 18, 2017, 1:30 - 5PM
Free Program | RSVP Required

Wrapping with Blessings: Making a Mini Wrapping Cloth (보자기: Bojagi)
Instructor: Contemporary Bojagi Artist Wonju Seo

In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to create a mini double layer wrapping cloth (bojagi), which can either be displayed as art or used as a decorative household item. Participants will use various colorful Korean silk materials and hand sewing techniques to create their own unique bojagi with geometric patterns and various colors.

Performance: Korean Traditional Music and Dance
1:30 – 2:00 PM Performance
2:00 – 5:00 PM Workshop


Wednesday, April 5th, 2017, 6 PM
Free Program | RSVP Required

The Art of Embroidery in Joseon Korea Special Lecture with Soyoung Lee
Korean Art Curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This lecture highlights the embroidered arts of nineteenth and early twentieth century Korea, from rank badges to folding screens, and explores the cultural and social realms of women as makers and consumers.


Saturday, April 15th, 2017, 2 - 5PM
Free Program | RSVP Required

Embroidering with a Brush: Painting Korean Official’s Rank Badge (흉배: Hyoongbae)
Instructor: Artist Seongmin Ahn

This is a Children’s Program for ages 8 and older with accompanying adults


This exhibition is presented as a part of Asia Week New York (www.asiaweekny.com) and also in celebration of International Women’s Day 2017 (www.internationalwomensday.com).

For press inquiries, contact Mickey Hyun
mickeyhyun@koreanculture.org or pr@koreanculture.org, 212-759-9550 (ext. 212).

For exhibition inquiries, contact Hee Sung Cho hyangaoao@koreanculture.org, (212) 759 9550 (ext. 204)

Korean Cultural Center NY
Inaugurated in 1979, the Korean Cultural Center New York (previously known as the Korean Cultural Service New York) is a branch of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) of the Republic of Korea. Under the authority of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in New York, KCCNY works to promote cultural arts exchange and stimulate interest in Korean culture through various opportunities. KCCNY provides diverse activities including exhibitions, concerts, film festivals, and educational programs. KCCNY is located at 460 Park Avenue (at 57th Street), New York City. www.koreanculture.org.

Miro Yoon