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Park Yang-woo. Photo: Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
Park Yang-woo. Photo: Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Park Yang-woo Named President of Gwangju Biennale Foundation

Gwangju mayor Yong-seop Lee on August 17 announced the appointment of former minister of culture, sports, and tourism Park Yang-woo as the new president of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation, MK News reports. Park, a thirty-year cultural policy veteran who previously served on the organization’s board, thus takes up for the second time a position he held from 2015 to 2017. Appointed minister of culture in 2019, Park retired from that post this past February, since which time he has served as the director of the KBS Symphony Orchestra. He holds four degrees: a bachelor’s and a master’s in public administration from Chung-Ang University and Seoul National University, respectively; a master’s in culture, policy, and management from the City University of London, and a doctorate in tourism science from Hanyang University.

Lee, who in addition to serving as Gwangju’s mayor chairs the Biennale foundation, said Park was chosen following a debate by the Biennale’s search committee.

Park’s appointment comes on the heels of the conclusion of an investigation into allegations of mismanagement by Sunjung Kim, who had served as the foundation’s president since 2017 before departing the organization at the end of June when her contract expired. Kim faced charges leveled by the Biennale’s labor union that she had mistreated staff and then unfairly dismissed those who complained about the abuse. The union characterized the abuse as representative of gapjil (arrogant conduct on the part of a superior), casting Kim as ignorant of labor laws and accusing her of attempting to privatize the foundation. Kim dismissed the allegations as “unfounded” and argued that she was not attempting to privatize the organization but was making “long overdue systematic changes.” An audit conducted by the City of Gwangju concluded that she had “abused power beyond her authority,” according to Artnews.