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Cleveland Museum introduces Korean, Japanese poetry paintings

Korean poetry paintings will be displayed in a major U.S. art museum for the first time next week.

The exhibition “The Lure of Painted Poetry: Japanese and Korean Art,” which kicks off March 27 at the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio, will offer a rare and in-depth comparison of poetry paintings by Korean and Japanese artists from the 14th to the 21st centuries.

Browsing through the 80 poetry paintings from the museum’s Asian art collection, viewers can see the artists’ efforts to fuse the genres of visual art and poetry, to reinterpret themes of classical Chinese poetry and to invent whole new styles of their own.

“The artworks in this exhibition explore the theme of liberation from a mundane life through armchair reclusion. Without completely withdrawing from the dusty world, the artists achieved spiritual freedom and inner utopia in their poetry and painting,” said Sun Seung-hye, associate curator of Korean and Japanese Art for the Cleveland Museum of Art. 
“Miwongyehyedo,” or “Literary Gathering” by an unknown artist from the Joseon Dynasty in the 16th century. (The Cleveland Museum of Art)
“Miwongyehyedo,” or “Literary Gathering” by an unknown artist from the Joseon Dynasty in the 16th century. (The Cleveland Museum of Art)

The exhibits mainly come from the Joseon Dynasty of Korea (1392-1910) and the Muromachi, Momoyama and Edo periods of Japan (1392-1867). But artworks by contemporary Korean and Japanese artists like Kim Sung-soo and Aoyama Sanu are also on display, offering a modern interpretation of the genre which continues to the present.

This is the first exhibition organized by the South Korean curator since her appointment in 2009. Previously Sun served as a curator at the National Museum of Korea for eight years.

Lectures by Korean and Japanese art experts, such as Sun and David McCann, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature at Harvard University, will be held during the exhibition period.

The exhibition will run from March 27 to Aug. 28 at the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio, U.S. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.clevelandart.org.

By Park Min-young  (claire@heraldcorp.com)
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