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North Korea: Witness to Transformation

South Korean Political Art at UC Irvine

by | September 22nd, 2012 | 07:00 am

For those living in Southern California, UC Irvine is staging an exhibition of South Korean political art that looks like it is worth a visit.

Following the Kwangju massacre, an important group of Korean artists—most born in the immediate post-war period—turned against Korean modernism by developing a dynamic, political; Youngwoo Lee offers a good introduction as does Frank Hoffman. Styles ranged from a return to simple woodblocks to socialist realism, but with common themes of celebrating “the people” and opposing the dictatorship; anti-Americanism got its due as well.

With democratization, the movement faced the challenge of where to go as it was mainstreamed: in 1994, National Museum of Contemporary Art in Kwach’on staged a major exhibition entitled Fifteen Years of Minjung Art and major artists in the movement even received commissions.

It looks like the show takes the Minjung art movement as a jumping off point for subsequent developments. Given that there appears to be little of this work online—use the comment function of you know of good sites—this should be an interesting show.

The exhibition opened September 20 and will run through November 20 at the University Art Gallery (information in the link above).