Korean contemporary art

Some artists work together, others work alone. Yet, another group ignite and spark each other’s creativity. They say to each other, “I’m not you, and you’re not me. But we can still be there for each other, I know we can.”

Kiya Kim and Chong Gon Byun are Brooklyn-based Korean artists with two distinct approaches to art, and on Open Studio day at the Invisible Dog Gallery I met them both, alongside their very different bodies of work. Yet, seeing the fruits of their labor side by side, I could see how influence had criss-crossed on the studio floor.

Chong Gon Byun is a conceptual artist who sculpts with various objets (once used, often discarded) and brings them back to life. He also paints.


Kiya Kim is an artist who approaches fashion and femininity with a tour de force of neon duct tape, candy-colored graffitti, and riffs of cover girl references.

Their style and focus, while vastly different, prove Brooklyn’s art scene is not be missed! More here.



Chuck Close, Asian Art edition

by Liz on August 7, 2010

in Art & Design

Here’s one way to show your appreciation for Asian contemporary art: take a field trip to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC and take in the work of Chuck Close, an American artist who spearheaded the movement known as photorealism in the ’70s.

Seems like an odd way to connect with the vibrant Asian art scene, but Close’s immeasurable influence on two Asian artists, Kang Hyung Koo (Korea) and Zhang Huan (China), compels myself to rethink Asian contemporary art. Many Asian artists today train at fine arts schools in their home countries, where they near-mechanically hone their skills in the fundamentals of drawing and painting. They go onto create art that reflects their cultural heritage but using Western art techniques they learned at local universities or graduate schools in the West.

Kang Hyung Koo’s enormous canvases of famous faces in both real and imagined poses have an unforgettable depth that photographs cannot reproduce. There’s such great layers to each of his works, that when I just look at his paintings of Van Gogh, Hepburn or Monroe, I feel completely immersed in the body of the painter’s dimensions. The genealogical hand-me-down from Close is quite obvious.





Zhang Huan’s paintings most approximate to an homage to Close are his drawings/paintings created with ash from temples around Shanghai. In an interview with Close, Zhang points out the ash is not something you can actually buy or collect, because “the ash embodies all the dreams and wishes of all the people when they are offering their spirits.”

Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration is on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art from July 3 to September 12.