In Pictures: See How a New Show at LACMA Traces the Evolution of Modern Korean Art

The exhibition explores Western influences during a significant and turbulent time in Korea's history.

Kim Eunho, Portrait of King Sunjong (1923). Photo: © National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea

When we think of Modern art, the innovations of Picasso, Duchamp, Kandinsky, and the Abstract Expressionists are what tend to spring most readily to mind. Now, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is looking to expand our Western-centric horizons with “The Space Between: The Modern in Korean Art,” a first-of-its-kind survey of art production in Korea between 1897 and 1965.

With over 130 works, the exhibition explores a significant period of upheaval in the country’s history from the Korean Empire (1897-1910), through the Japanese colonial period up to the struggles and aftermath of the Korean War (1950-1953). 

At this time, the country was newly exposed to foreign cultures and many of the works, which have never before been exhibited outside of Korea, examine how both European and American influences played out there.

As Seoul plays an increasingly pivotal role in the Asian and international art scenes of today, the show is a chance to see how Korean artists first began breaking with tradition to inform the beginnings of Korean contemporary art.

“The Space Between” runs until February 19, 2023. See artworks from the exhibition below. 

Kim Whanki, Jars and Women (1951). Photo: © Whanki Foundation-Whanki Museum.

Shin Nakkyun, Photograph of Choi Seunghui (1930). Image courtesy of Jipyong Collection, Research Institute for the Visual Language of Korea, Seoul.

Kim Kwan-ho, Sunset (1916). Photo courtesy of The University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts.

John Pai, Untitled</> (1963). Photo courtesy of John Pai.

Park Seo-bo, Primordials No. 1-62 (1962). Photo courtesy of The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.

Han Youngsoo, Near Savoy Hotel, Myeongdong, Seoul (1956). Photo courtesy of LACMA.

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