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London EC4M 7RD
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TransGlobe Publishing, Ltd.
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Price: £48.00

Korean Art: The Power of Now

Editor: Hossein Amirsadeghi
Executive Editor: Marcelle Joseph
With essays by Youngna Kim, Sook-Kyung Lee and John Rajchman

Hardback, 29 x 25 cm, 304pp.
With over 680 photographs

Korean Art: The Power of Now is the most comprehensive English-language survey of contemporary art from Korea ever published, showcasing 120 artists, museum and gallery directors, curators and collectors in its lavishly illustrated pages. A relatively small but economically powerful country with one of the highest GDP rankings in the world, Korea arguably has the most sophisticated contemporary art scene in Asia. In recent years, its vibrancy has been recognised in the international arena, with artists such as Do Ho Suh, Kimsooja, Michael Joo and Koo Jeong-A appearing as major figures in both monographic and thematic exhibitions. The book presents profiles of these internationally recognised figures as well as of such up-and-coming artists as Lee Yongbaek, Jeon Joonho, Moon Kyungwon and Nikki S. Lee. Further texts profile influential curators including Doryun Chong, Seungduk Kim, Sung Won Kim and Young Chul Lee, as well as the country’s leading arts institutions, among them the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art; the Nam June Paik Art Center and the Seoul Museum of Art. The Gwangju Biennale is also highlighted.

Korea’s transformation over the last thirty years has been unique in the world, its industrial evolution and creation of globally recognised brands making it an international player of the first order. As a nation prospers, so does its art. Today’s artists in Korea may have grown up amid political turmoil, but increasing political and social freedom has informed their practice in ways that make it difficult to label current developments in a definitive manner. Although Korean contemporary artists take both global and local issues into account in their work, what makes Korean art unique is its diversity and its individuality, informed and enriched by rigorous experimentation and cultural exploration, especially when compared with that of other Asian countries. Korean Art: The Power of Now looks at Korean contemporary art’s historical origins within the context of modernist preoccupations both inside and outside of the country. For example, the Informel, Monochrome and Minjung movements, all of which preceded the prolific, diverse era of Postmodernism, are discussed in detail. Incisive profiles and in-depth essays by leading international scholars Youngna Kim, Sook-Kyung Lee and John Rajchman serve to make the book a vital resource for both those in the know and readers wishing to acquaint themselves with Korea’s contemporary scene for the first time.

Hossein Amirsadeghi is a long-time publisher, writer, editor and creative entrepreneur with a recent focus on the world of contemporary art. He has written, edited and published many books on a wide range of subjects, produced a major international conference on art and patronage in the Middle East (2012), and made several television documentaries. His latest books include Frozen Dreams: Contemporary Art from Russia, Contemporary Art Brazil and Sanctuary: Britain’s Artists and their Studios, all published by Thames & Hudson. He is currently working on Art Studio America: Contemporary Artist Spaces, as well as surveys of contemporary art in Mexico and Scandinavia.

Youngna Kim is a professor of Art History at Seoul National University and Director of the National Museum of Korea, Seoul. Dr Kim received a BA from Muhlenberg College, Allentown, and an MA and PhD from Ohio State University, Columbus. She has written extensively on Korean modern and contemporary art; her book-length publications include Twentieth Century Korean Art and Tradition, Modernity and Identity: Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea (both 2005).

Sook-Kyung Lee is a curator, lecturer and writer. Currently Research Curator at the Tate Research Centre: Asia-Pacific, she was formerly Exhibitions and Displays Curator at Tate Liverpool, where she curated an exhibition of work by Nam June Paik. Born in South Korea, Lee was Curator at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea in Seoul and a guest lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London. She has written for several exhibition catalogues as well as for a variety of international art publications.

John Rajchman is a philosopher based in New York. He is a professor in the Department of Art History at Columbia University and a contributing editor to Artforum. He was a founding editor of Semiotext(e) and a member of the editorial board of October, as well as of ANY (Architecture New York). His most recent book (co-edited with Etienne Balibar) is French Philosophy Since 1945: Problems, Concepts, Inventions (2011). He has written extensively on French philosophy, globalisation and contemporary art.

Marcelle Joseph, based in London, is an independent curator and art consultant. Joseph holds a BA from Cornell University in Ithaca, a JD from New York University School of Law, a Dip Law from Brasenose College, University of Oxford, and a Certificate in Art Business from Christie’s Education, London.

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