AHL Foundation Public Lecture Series 2014 In Collaboration with Korean Cultural Service NY

September 17, October 15 & November 19, 2014 at 6–7:30PM
Korean Cultural Service NY

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Inventing Traditions of Korean Art and Culture: Diplomatic Perspectives
Global Bodies from Korea: Tattoos and Taboos of Kim Joon’s Skinning


  • Lecturer: Dr. Rachel Baum, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art, Department of History of Art,
    State University of New York, Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
  • Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
  • Place: Korean Cultural Service, 460 Park Avenue (57th Street), 6th Floor
  • Free admission; refreshments provided

Kim Joon sees tattooing as a manifestation of the conflicting forces of all identity formation, which is a process of both determination and agency, the effect of internal and external forces that often signify on the skin, as race, gender, normality or dissent. Kim’s interpretation of tattoo is a case study in whatever enters social discourse through prohibition will in fact proliferate and expand, colonizing our consciousness and spreading across our vision of the world. This dualism of proscription and obsession is clear in Kim’s account of tattoo as, on the one hand, expression, desire and self-creation and, on the other, “compulsion, coercion, duress, and constraint”— what Foucault describes as a “game of powers and pleasures.”

Kim describes his creative development as shaped by the fantasy and artifice of imported American commercial culture, from rock music to Hollywood. The significance of this foreign media presence following on a wartime presence is not lost on the artist. He recalls the impact of listening to American military radio as a youth in Seoul and internalizing the new global identity of “Pop” capitalism as ally, consumerism as shared identity.

Inventing Traditions of Korean Art and Culture: Diplomatic Perspectives
Costume Reform and Korean Modernization: Yu Kil-Chun’s Visions


  • Lecturer: Dr. Aida Yuen Wong, Associate Professor of Asian Art, Brandeis University
  • Date: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
  • Place: Korean Cultural Service, 460 Park Avenue (57th Street), 6th Floor
  • Free admission; refreshments provided

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, is home to one of the finest collections of Korean art in the United States. The Yu Kil-Chun Gallery at the PEM was named after a renowned scholar, political activist, and member of the first Korean delegation to the United States in 1883. His personal effects, including the clothes he wore, formed the earliest group of Korean art and artifacts donated to the museum. This talk begins by introducing the standard way of dress among people of Yu’s social position in the late Joseon dynasty, to be followed by an analysis of the changes in clothing style as Korea underwent tumultuous modernization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. King Gojong believed that the adoption of new attires was one of the necessary first steps for national advancement, although the imperial manifesto to put the idea to practice met with opposition from the Prime Minister who was eventually dismissed for refusing to comply. Understanding the nature and extent of this contentious costume reform sheds light on an important chapter in Korean modern history.

Inventing Traditions of Korean Art and Culture: Diplomatic Perspectives
Latitudinal Attitudes: Critical Practices in Curating Contemporary Art from South Korea


  • Lecturer: Young Min Moon, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Date: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 | 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
  • Place: Korean Cultural Service, 460 Park Avenue (57th Street), 6th Floor
  • Free admission; refreshments provided

Traditionally, area studies had been predicated upon the situation in which the “Other” was located at a remote distance. In the aftermath of 9/11, with the assumption that the other has infiltrated into the western territories, area studies seem to have become an Anachronism. Why, then, do curators insist on introducing the art of the “Other” as though it were an extension of area studies? Are we not continuing to see exhibitions devoted to contemporary “Chinese art,” for example? How can exhibitions of contemporary art from another culture be presented to the global audience in the current political climate of resurgence of nationalism?

This lecture introduces some of the recent curatorial works that juxtapose contemporary art from South Korea along with certain other counterparts, whether they are art by Korean Americans, Balkans, Vietnamese, or Korean expatriate artists working in relation to specific historical and meta-historical contexts. Rather than isolating, but rather pairing, doubling, or multiplying the constituencies of the exhibitions through latitudinal coordinates, the curators gain considerable freedom in making connections across geography, borders, histories, and nations. Latitudinal approach also extends to the Historically and politically oppressed memories among peoples. It entails organizing exhibitions that present the potentiality of communities that lack fixed identity, of communities that incessantly repeat deviations and transformations. By making such connections, the exhibitions aim to recuperate, connect, and sustain the hybridity and alterity that have been excluded in the artificial construction of ethnic-linguistic homogeneity.

Korean Cultural Center New York

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