Hiji Nam

  • July 17, 2020

    “Jane Jin Kaisen: Community of Parting”

    Curated by Henriette Bretton-Meyer

    During the twentieth century, Jejudo, a Korean island (do) and former independent kingdom, was annexed by the Japanese, then underwent US and Korean military rule, which led to the formal separation of the island and the south of the peninsula from its northern half. Protesting the occupation and desiring unification, local organizers staged an armed uprising in Jejudo on April 3, 1948. In response, far-right Korean forces killed an estimated 10 percent of the island’s civilian population of three hundred thousand. The Korean War followed. Born in Jejudo in 1980

  • Merlin Carpenter

    During the opening of his second presentation at Reena Spaulings Fine Art in 2007, Merlin Carpenter painted invectives such as DIE COLLECTOR SCUM and I HATE YOU THE ART WORLD YOU CUNTS onto canvases. At his 2011 show at Berlin’s MD 72, only those who were willing to pay 5,000 euros were allowed to view the art. For a 2017 show of paintings at Simon Lee Gallery in London, Carpenter contractually bound buyers of his works to keep them wrapped up until the year 2081. His art, depending on who you ask, is either willingly naive, deeply cynical, or the real thing. For his fifth outing at Reena

  • interviews April 28, 2020

    Hwayeon Nam

    Over the past eight years, the Korean artist Hwayeon Nam has explored social and historical choreography and temporal reroutings of archives through the figure of Seunghee Choi (1911–1969). A pioneer of modern Korean dance and a national icon whose life and career were marked by colonial occupations, clashing ideologies, and peninsular war, Choi was born the year after Japan annexed Korea. She studied dance in Tokyo at age fourteen and later toured internationally, counting among her audience and admirers figures such as Charlie Chaplin, Jean Cocteau, Yukio Mishima, and Pablo Picasso. Choi’s

  • interviews April 16, 2020

    Leslie Thornton

    “There are no other people in the world. Something has happened to them, but Peggy and Fred are unconcerned . . . They are adrift in the detritus of prior cultures, cast loose in a world of post-apocalyptic splendor. And they also watch television . . . This constitutes their idea of the Social.” This is how Leslie Thornton describes her epic cinematic series “Peggy and Fred in Hell,” which she has repeatedly edited and reassembled from 1983 to 2016. Thornton’s five-decade output is similarly elliptical and self-theorizing, drawing from shot and found footage, text, and archival material to

  • Conrad Ventur

    “This is a tough town. And if you’re not standing on something solid, you’re gonna get pushed over.” Thus spake the photographer and filmmaker Conrad Ventur on his decision to become a gardener in The Internship, 2018–19, a forty-four-minute video that was the fulcrum of his show, “A Green New Deal,” at Participant Inc. After fifteen years of being on what he calls “the artist roller coaster . . . lots of money and then no money, and then more no money. And then more more no money”—and working as an archivist and editor to support his artmaking—Ventur began taking night classes in horticulture

  • Seeun Kim

    The sixteen canvases making up Seeun Kim’s exhibition “Pitman’s Choice” evoked both the sea and the city, marked as they were with bleeding curves that suggested overpasses, bridges, and dunes, perpetually fusing and confusing the biomorphic and geometric. The thirty-year-old Korean painter’s palette of beach-house colors—tortoise shell, cabbage white, greens the shade of hedges—further jumbled the stairs, tunnels, and passageways of urban vistas with those of an architecture of the emotions. Scale became hard to gauge. The central mass in the earth-toned Leftover, 2017, could have been a root

  • Bunny Rogers

    Curated by Thomas D. Trummer

    Inside a folder labeled LAMB GRAVES on Bunny Rogers’s website everybodydiesbut.me is a seven-page spreadsheet that lists burial sites of children (BABES, OUR DARLING). Most entries include a thumbnail photo of the tombstone, its inscription (JUST ASLEEP, AT REST), the year of death, and the location. Elsewhere, in a folder called alternately IN HEALTH and HELL, Rogers has posted an obituary-like portrait of herself as a teenager. An expired countdown clock on her main site, meryn.ru, once ticked off the hours until Rogers would outlive those in the “27 Club,” including

  • diary December 19, 2019

    Scene and Held

    PRICED OUT OF THE LES, Ludlow 38 will shutter indefinitely. By now, this is too familiar a story to really be anything beyond a bummer, so last Thursday, on the night of the crushing UK elections, some friends of the gallery gathered to toast it goodbye at Nublu Classic, the Alphabet City bar. Guests of the “Too Faust Too Furious” party were variously scrounging for drink tickets and fretting about getting canceled in Texte Zur Kunst; Marie Karlberg was valiantly fighting a hangover from her opening at Tramps the night prior, which featured a sizable chunk of art-world players playing (basically)

  • picks December 09, 2019

    Patricia L. Boyd

    With an elegantly understated semiotics of the garden, Patricia L. Boyd’s exhibition here foregrounds the labors and failures of maintenance. In Unearthed, 2019, an array of weeds rest on a sheet of canvas; the artist’s mother snuck the flora, pruned from her garden, through US customs by dissembling them between yellow card stock and photographs of sundry English gardens she had visited. These pictures now grace the gallery’s walls, as does the video Sweepings, 2019, in which neglected to-do lists loop in a ceaseless tide: chicken liver / dust buster / more socks / emails / kevin’s memorial?

  • picks December 09, 2019

    Ei Arakawa and Sarah Chow

    “Occultism is the metaphysics of dunces,” once wrote Adorno, a “regression to magic . . . assimilated to late capitalist forms.” It’s no surprise, then, that astrology is alive and well in our century. It serves as the conceptual linchpin for “Moon Rehearsals,” an exhibition by VERTEX af (Ei Arakawa and Sarah Chow). A continuation of a project begun in 2018 at Düsseldorf’s Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, the show joins Arakawa’s superlunary LED-lit tapestries with Chow’s “Performance People,” 2018, a series of astrological readings of canonical art. For the latter—fifteen printouts

  • diary November 06, 2019

    Seoul Cycle

    ARRIVING OFF A FOURTEEN-HOUR FLIGHT from New York, I couldn’t remember the code to my grandmother’s apartment, until it came back like muscle memory: 1945, the year of national liberation for my grandparents, who were in middle school when the Japanese occupation of Korea ended. The persistence of the country’s ancient Confucian moral codes are refracted and jumbled through memories of imperial rule and aspirational neoliberalism in modern Seoul, and compounding deep-rooted hostilities against our former colonizer are the recent trade standoffs; the astonishing sense of kinship among Koreans

  • interviews October 29, 2019

    Pat Steir

    Since the late 1980s, Pat Steir has slung her paint from a loaded brush, letting oils arc and flow in a signature gesture of both creation and sublime surrender. For her latest exhibition, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, the American artist has filled the building’s rotunda with a new suite of thirty paintings that, together, form a color wheel—an art fundamental that dates back to the early eighteenth century. “What Goethe was really pursuing was not a physiological but a psychological theory of colors,” Wittgenstein once wrote. The same might be said of Steir’s