Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method by Joan Kee
Saturday, October 5, 2013, 1 pm
Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Starting in the mid-1960s, a group of Korean artists began to push paint, soak canvas, drag pencils, rip paper, and otherwise manipulate materials in ways that were described as “methods” rather than artworks. A crucial artistic movement of twentieth-century Korea, Tansaekhwa, or monochromatic painting, became the international face of contemporary Korean art and a cornerstone of contemporary Asian art.
Joan Kee examines how Tansaekhwa artists made a case for abstraction as a way for viewers to engage productively with the world and its systems. These artists recognized that overwhelming forces, such as decolonization and authoritarianism, could be approached through highly individual experiences that asked viewers to consider how they understood their world rather than why.
The author of Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method, Joan Kee holds the first university position in North America specifically created for the study of modern and contemporary art in Asia. Since the late 1990s, she has written widely on East and Southeast Asian art for such publications as Artforum, Art Bulletin, Art History, Oxford Art Journal, Third Text, and the catalogue for the Korean Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale. Holding a JD degree from Yale Law School, as well as a PhD in art history from NYU, she is interested in artistic responses to the law in the context of legal developments in post-1965 America, the focus of her latest book project. Her other interests include the problem of scale; revisionist histories of postwar abstraction, particularly of monochrome painting; issues of globalization and form; and modernity in ink painting.
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