Gwangju Biennale President Resigns after Censorship Controversy

Pac Pobric reports for the Art Newspaper that the president of the Gwangju Biennale, Lee Yong-woo, announced his resignation on Monday. The reason he decided to step down? Last month, biennale organizers had removed a painting by the artist Hong Seong-dam, which depicts family members of the children who died in the nation’s ferry disaster earlier this year confronting South Korean president Park Geun-hye. They claimed the painting’s removal was driven by logistics, but suspicions of politically motivated censorship led a group of Japanese artists from Okinawa to pull their works, and the head curator, Yoon Beom-mo, to resign.

On Monday, Lee, the biennale’s president, admitted that the mural vanished under political pressure from the Gwangju city government, which had poured $2.4 million into the event. His resignation will come into effect after the opening of the main biennale exhibition. “I am taking full responsibility for what happened,” he said.