Sep 30 2021

Strengthening Ties: Weekly News Roundup

by The Editors

Rhythm of the Five Color Luster (2013), contemporary Korean lacquerware by CHUNG HAECHO. Photo by Paula Lobo. Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The Met Receives Major Lacquerware Gift From South Korea

On September 20, the government of South Korea bestowed a lacquerware work by artist Chung Haecho upon The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Chung’s Rhythm of the Five Color Luster (2013) comprises a set of five vessels, one for each of the Korean obangsaek hues. The traditional color scheme references the five basic elements in East Asian cosmology, namely wood (blue), fire (red), earth (yellow), water (black), and metal (white), although Chung replaced white with green as the former cannot be produced in ottchil (Korean lacquer). Chung is a famous contemporary ottchil artist, whose works have been collected by international institutions including London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The gift was presented in a private ceremony at The Met, attended by South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook; the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Hwang Hee; and the Korean pop supergroup BTS, which was recently named “special presidential envoy for future generations and culture” by President Moon Jae-in.

Portraits of (left) HYONJEONG KIM HAN and (right) EINOR KEINAN CERVONE. Courtesy Denver Art Museum.

Denver Art Museum Appoints Experts on Asian Art

The Asian art department at Denver Art Museum (DAM) is welcoming two new Asian curators on board, per an announcement on September 22. Hyonjeong Kim Han, who is currently the associate curator of Korean art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, will oversee the collection and programming at DAM’s Asian art department beginning September 30. Einor Keinan Cervone joined DAM as the new associate curator of Asian art on September 1. An expert of Ming and Qing painting, Asian lacquer, Chinese ceramics, and contemporary ink art, Cervone was previously the Mozhai Foundation curatorial fellow in the department of Chinese and Korean art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Installation view of Sydney Contemporary 2019. Photo by Zan Wimberly. Courtesy Sydney Contemporary.

Sydney Contemporary Pushed to 2022

Sydney Contemporary, Australia’s largest global art fair, has postponed again amid another spike in Covid-19. The sixth edition had initially been pushed from September to November this year, but will now take place September 8–11, 2022. In lieu of a physical event, organizers will launch a digital version called Explore Sydney Contemporary, accessible from November 11 to 21, 2021. The custom-built selling platform will feature 1,800 artworks by more than 450 international artists. A virtual program of public events will run in parallel, with more details forthcoming. Tickets for Sydney Contemporary 2021 are transferable to the new dates.

Photo of Jax district, Diriyah. Image via Facebook.

Saudi Arabia Launches First Contemporary Art Biennial

As part of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing plan to boost its cultural production, the kingdom will host its first contemporary art biennale from December 11 to March 11, 2022. Helmed by Philip Tinari, director of Beijing’s UCCA Center of Contemporary Art, the inaugural Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, “Feeling the Stones,” will bring more than 60 regional and international artists to the JAX district of Diriyah, outside of Riyadh. Among the names on the first list of participants are Chinese artist Xu Bing, Saudi abstract artist Lulwah Al-Homoud, and multimedia artist Lawrence Lek. Additionally, conceptual artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke will debut her Ithra Art Prize project, a large-scale pandemic-inspired installation titled E Pluribus Unum – Modern Fossil. The Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale is initiated by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and organized by the Diriyah Biennale Foundation. The Foundation will oversee another new festival focused on Islamic arts, slated for 2022.

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