• Issue
  • Apr 30, 2024

Kang Seung Lee: The Presence of This Void

Installation view of KANG SEUNG LEE’s Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living, 2023, multipart installation, dimensions variable, at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo by Charles White. Courtesy the artist; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles/Mexico City.

Friendship, kinship, community—how can these interpersonal connections be established and maintained across geographies and even across generations? The multiplicity of relationships that Kang Seung Lee forms through his artistic practice is both imaginary and real, as he recovers personal stories and transforms them into alternative histories of queer genealogies. Born in Seoul and now based in Los Angeles, Lee has formed a conversant network of artist-friends and mentors including artists such as Peter Hujar (1934–1987) and David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992), the late Hong Kong-born artist Tseng Kwong Chi (1950–1990), who captured himself in photographs at sites around the world wearing a zhongshan suit, and the first openly gay politician in the United States, Harvey Milk (1930–1978), who was assassinated in San Francisco.