The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA, Director Youn Bummo) is launching a “Korean art wave” effort designed to boost the international stature of Korean art with its simultaneous launch of “Watch and Chill,” a video art streaming platform developed in partnership with four Asian art museums, and opening of an associated exhibition on Tuesday, August 24.
“Watch and Chill”: A subscription-based art stream platform
“Watch and Chill” is a subscription-based stream service through which subscribers around the world can use an online platform (https://watchandchill.kr) to access 22 video works selected mainly from the media collections of MMCA, the M+ West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, the MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Thailand, and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) in the Philippines. Spearheaded by MMCA, this service was developed in collaboration with curators from the four Asian art institutions as a way of exploring and responding to the changing behaviors in the digital era – a phenomenon that has only gained further momentum with the COVID-19 pandemic. “Watch and Chill” suggests a new approach for sharing art among art museums, artists, and viewers. A unique opportunity to view the work is also offered through Watch and Chill: Streaming Art to Your Homes, a showcase exhibition that presents the video works alongside the online platform.
Both the online platform and the exhibition are divided into four sections: “Things in My Living Room,” “By the Other Being,” “Community of Houses,” and “Meta-Home.” Each participating institution in turn will be presenting video work from their collections to suit the four topics. The first section, titled “Things in My Living Room,” presents items from the home and scenes of their placement, arrangement, and circulation. The second section, titled “By the Other Being,” shares works that reflect on the physical and mental aspects of the home as a safe haven, being influenced by the interventions and intrusions of other beings. The third section, titled “Community of Houses,” includes artwork that proposes an alternative form of living together that differs from the traditional community of neighbors. The fourth section, titled “Meta-Home,” features works that focus on “homes beyond homes,” i.e., the hyper-connectivity of our domestic spaces. Artists featured in the MMCA collection, including Koo Donghee, Kim Heecheon, and Cha Ji Ryang, have recreated their past work in ways adapted for a streaming-based service. The exhibition setting itself suggests different forms of residential environments paired with media work through Space of Things, a spatial design work by architect Choi Jangwon (Farming Architecture). Watch and Chill will offer an opportunity to see media works by international artist, such as Shireen Seno, Yuan Goang-ming, Cao Fei, and Chai Siris, provided by three collaborating institutions.
One video per week will be posted on the online platform under each sub-topic, and subscribers will receive an email with information about the work. All videos will be presented with Korean and English subtitles. Users can view the work by requesting a subscription through registration. The satellite project The Tales I Tell will also be presented through the online platform, presenting texts from poets, writers, and critics about personal experiences as they try out the platform (available both in Korean and English).
The showcase exhibition Watch and Chill: Streaming Art to Your Homes will be taking place in Gallery 6 of MMCA Seoul from Tuesday, August 24 to Sunday, October 24. After the exhibition finishes, it will be traveling to MCAD in October, MAIIAM in December, and M+ in January 2022. The “Watch and Chill” online platform will continue through February 2022, which marks the end of the touring exhibition’s last stop at M+ in Hong Kong. Going forward, MMCA plans to expand its online platform partnerships to Europe/Africa in 2022 and North and South America in 2023.
“MMCA VR”: New Contents on YouTube channel for Korean art-related VR videos
Last year, the calligraphy curator exhibition tour “MMCA TV” enjoyed a strong response in Korea and overseas. This year, MMCA will be creating “MMCA VR,” a content that allows works of Korean art to be experienced through virtual reality, together with an immerse three-minute narration video in English. For its first work, it will be presenting the new piece Moonlight Crown_Silla Gold Crown Shadow by Yeesookyung, an artist whose work was featured at the MMCA Deoksugung exhibition DNA: Dynamic & Alive Korean Art. Visitors to the MMCA YouTube channel can watch a realistic VR video developed with Rotoscoping technology (a combination of live-action images and animation) by the New Media art group VERS. The second video will be presented in November, and various other works will be developed into VR to share the value of Korean art with the rest of the world.
Supporting new work by seven promising Korean contemporary artists
The Time of the Earth, an exhibition that opens on Thursday, November 25 at MMCA Gwacheon, expresses an ecological attitude and zeitgeist oriented toward sustainable community life based on reflection on the climate and environmental crises that the whole world is currently facing. For this exhibition, seven Korean contemporary artists have been selected for support toward creating new work, with both the creation process and the results recorded in photographs and videos that will be shared online with the rest of the world through the museum’s YouTube channel and website. The seven artists – Juree Kim, Na Hyun, JungKi Beak, Dongjoo Seo, Soyoung Chung, Minseung Jang, and Kyudong Jung(OAA) – will be presenting installations that combine different materials and genres such as photography, video, sound, and architecture. The seven new works reflect research and insights into the vitality of earth and water; the equilibrium that sustains the ecosystem and the value of taboos; the essence of nature as viewed in terms of change and circulation; the relationship between nature and people as examined within the marine ecosystem; the real-world landscapes obscured behind cultures of capital and speed; and the connections and interactions between individuals and the whole. The exhibition is also being seen as an opportunity to seek out future avenues of cooperation with outstanding overseas institutions that are researching and planning exhibitions with ecological art-related themes.
New website to offer high-quality English-language content on Korean modern and contemporary art
A Korean art website (title TBD) is scheduled to open in the first half of 2022 with the aim of providing high-quality English-language content related to Korean modern and contemporary art. It is to consist mainly of information about major exhibitions since 1900 and participating artists and artworks by year, which will be provided along with related research and archive materials. In addition to its role as an information platform, this site is expected to serve as a focal point for promoting interest in Korea’s contemporary art and culture.
English edition of Korean Art 1900–2020 to be published
Korean Art 1900–2020 will be published during the first half of 2022 as an English version of the Korean-language edition, a survey of 120 years of Korean art that reaches bookshelves in September 2021. It adopts a chronological approach as it looks back on this 120-year-period with a focus on the historical context and the activities of major artists. It includes 34 texts organized around five topics: “From Calligraphy to ‘Art,’” “Art in an Era of War and Division,” “Modernism in Korea: The Relationship between Tradition and Modernity,” “Democratization Movement and the Pluralization of Art,” and “Globalism and Contemporary Korean Art.” To ensure a diverse range of perspectives and interpretations of Korean modern and contemporary art, it features contributions by 34 authors, including MMCA curators and art historians from various fields of Korean art. Edited to offer readers a chronological look at Korean modern and contemporary art history, it includes more than 400 color plates of major artworks and archival materials that help readers to understand Korean modern and contemporary art better. The English edition will be distributed to major art institutions and libraries overseas, and it can also be purchased through the MMCA’s online shop (mmcashop.co.kr), which offers international shipping.
Youn Bummo, Director of the MMCA, said, “The art streaming platform that is being launched this year with four participating Asian countries will be expanded in the future to Europe and North and South America, making 2022 the new beginning of a true ‘Korean art wave,’” and “With our Korean art VR videos, our project supporting new work by seven promising artists expressing the current zeitgeist, an easily searchable English-language website on Korean art, and the publication of an English-language introduction to Korean art, we are presenting Korean art in a refined way to the overseas art world, affirming the international competitiveness of art genres while leading the way toward playing a positive role in art market promotion,” he added.