The Korea Herald


Curators gather for show at top-rated art university

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 18, 2011 - 19:05

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“Portrait of Gogh & The story about ant” by Lee Lee-nam. (HOMA) “Portrait of Gogh & The story about ant” by Lee Lee-nam. (HOMA)
Organizers keen to see how public reacts to Han Hyo-seok’s controversial work at ‘HOMA Curator Project’

Not one but 18 curatorial teams got together to make a single art exhibition and fair.

South Korean curators ranging from debutants to veterans organized “HOMA Curators Project,” composed of their mini exhibitions, which is currently underway at Hongik Museum of Art in Hongik University, known for its top-notch art program.

The first division of the two-part show is organized by 11 acclaimed art figures. Kim Seong-hee, art professor at Hongik University, Yun Jin-seob, vice president of International Association of Art Critic, and Shin Seung-oh, director at Gallery Sun Contemporary, are among the well-known names.

A total of seven teams of younger and less experienced curators are lined up in the second section, including Park Yu-ri and Sohn Ju-yeon, Won Chae-yun and Lee Hyun-in, and Jin Jin.

The show bridged up-and-coming curators with established ones through a mentoring program. Each organizer of the first section was matched up as a mentor with one of the curators at the second section, the mentee.

“The program offers young curators a chance to learn experiences and know-how from professional curators,” said Yu Jae-gil, director of Hongik Museum of Art and art professor at Hongik University.

The focus, of course, is not just on those who put together the artwork. Curators have brought together impressive artwork by nearly 100 local and international artists such as Kim Seok, Ju Tae-seok, Choi Byung-hoon and Lee Lee-nam from Korea, Charles Belle from France, Yi Chen from China and Annet Couwenberg from the Netherlands. 
“Flowers” by Charles Belle.(HOMA) “Flowers” by Charles Belle.(HOMA)

Organizers are especially eyeing “Man, Woman,” a work from Han Hyo-seok’s relief series which closely depicts human genitals. The work was included in the show after creating a stir, respecting the artist’s statement that “my relief is not obscene. I wanted to express men and women purely as a living creature.”

Han has created controversial works over the past decade such as a human head relief combined with animal bodies or human faces from which the skin seems to have been peeled off. The works have drawn interest among curators and art critics more so than the general public.

Curators were at first opposed to exhibiting the work because it was “too strong” for an art fair which aims to bring new artwork and curators to the public and sell artwork. Finally, however, they decided to include the work to show the gap existing between the artist and the general public. Now the focus is on visitors’ reaction and whether the work will be sold. The results will mirror how far Korean collectors are ready to go, said the curators.

All the exhibits are on sale. Works by Hongik University art professors, especially, are sold at a 10 to 30 percent discount from the market price.

”Homa Curator Project“ runs through Dec. 30 at Hongik Museum of Art in Hongik University in Sangsu-dong, central Seoul. The museum is closed on Dec. 23. For more information, call (02) 320-3272~3 or visit

By Park Min-young  (