Korean Art 1900 - 2020

Korean Art 1900-2020 is expected to be a milestone in the Korean art research project. In order to present a wide variety of perspectives and analyses on Korean modern and contemporary art, the compilation involved the participation of 34 writers, including MMCA curators and Korean art experts from various areas. It consists of five parts:

Chapter 1, titled “From calligraphy and painting to art,” covers the period from Korea’s opening in the late 19th century through the first part of the 20th century and Korea’s liberation in 1945. It examines the ways in which modernity was introduced into the traditional Korean painting world in a time of social and cultural upheavals. In particular, it focuses on changes to traditional painting and the artistic establishment with the advent of the new “art” concept, as well as the new visual culture ushered in by advancements in popular media.

Chapter 2, titled “Art in a time of war and division,” examines the process of Korean art transforming and acquiring its own independence during a time of revolution and chaos extending from liberation until shortly after the end of the Korean War. By also including trends in North Korean art during this time, the book attempts to expand the focus of art history research to the artistic diaspora brought about by the Japanese occupation and the Korean Peninsula’s division.

Chapter 3, titled “The tradition/modernity dynamic in the modernization era,” focuses in particular on the Dansaekhwa (Korean monochrome) movement, experimental art, and Korean artists’ journeys overseas, all of which came about amid transformations in the Korean art world during the postwar restoration and industrialization period from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Chapter 4, titled “Democratization Movement and the pluralization of art,” concentrates on art as a reflection of individual lives and historical currents amid the calls for democratization in 1980s South Korea. It explores the expansive potential of Korean art through a diverse range of fields including the Minjung activist art movement, feminist art, Hangukhwa (Korean painting), crafts, design, architecture, and photography.

Chapter 5, titled “Globalism and contemporary Korean art,” examines the diversification of 21st century Korean art under the effects of globalization and internationalization since the 1990s.

For each topic, texts have been compiled to provide a chronological glimpse of currents in Korean modern and contemporary art history, accompanied by color images of around 400 major artworks and archival materials. A chronology of Korean art history has also been presented to offer an all-in-one survey of 120 years of Korean art.

Contributions by: Kang Mingi, Kang Soojung, Kho Chung-Hwan, Helen Jungyeon Ku, Kwon Young-jin, Kwon Heangga, Kim Keongyeon, Kim Kyoung-woon, Kim Yisoon, Kim Inhye, Gim Jonggil, Kim Hyunsook, Kim Hyeonjoo, Liu Jienne, Ryu Hanseung, Mok Soohyun, Park Soojin, Park Youngran, Bae Myungji, Seo Yuri, Song Sujong, Song Heekyung, Shin Soo-kyung, Shin Chunghoon, Yang Eunhee, Woo Jung-Ah, Youn Bummo, Lim Shan, Chung Dahyoung, Chung Moojeong, Cho Soojin, Cho Eunjung, Choi Bum, Hong Jisuk