Los Angeles museum to showcase Korean art

By Lee Woo-young

Hyundai Motor signs a 10-year sponsorship with U.S. museum to promote Korean art and bridge gap between art and technology

  • Published : Apr 1, 2015 - 19:54
  • Updated : Apr 1, 2015 - 19:55
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the largest museum in the western United States, will present broad surveys of Korean art for the next 10 years under the longest corporate sponsorship the museum has ever had, said Michael Govan, director of the museum.

“We will be making at least three groundbreaking exhibitions of Korean art that has never been made on this scale before,” said Govan during a press conference in Seoul Tuesday to announce the 10-year partnership with Hyundai Motor Company. 

From left: Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Michael Govan, executive vice president of Hyundai Motor Company Cho Won-hong, and head of the Chinese and Korean department of LACMA Steven Little at the press conference. (Hyundai Motor Company)

In 2018, the museum will present an exhibit dedicated to Korean calligraphy, which will be followed by a showcase of contemporary Korean art in 2022 and a broad survey of 20th century modern art in Korea in 2024.

The Los Angeles museum is the third to receive money from Hyundai as part of a major sponsorship deal encompassing exhibitions, acquisitions, programs and publications.

The Korean carmaker has sponsored the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea since 2013 and the Tate Modern in London since last year.

“The LACMA boasts the largest Korean art collection in North America and has focused on the connection between art and technology since the late 1960s with some of the world’s renowned artists, including Andy Warhol and James Turrell,” said Cho Won-hong, executive vice president of Hyundai Motor.

The LACMA has around 14,000 to 19,000 pieces of Korean art, with the largest number from the Joseon period. The museum’s first Korean collection included Goryo Dynasty ceramics, which was a gift from the Korean President at the time, Park Chung-hee, in 1965, who was disappointed at the absence of his country’s art in the museum.

With its roots in the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art in 1910, the LACMA opened in 1965 in one of the most multicultural places in the U.S.

“The first focus on Korean art is important to Hyundai, but it’s also important to LACMA because LA is home to the largest number of Koreans outside Korea,” Govan added.

Hyundai’s partnership with art museums around the world comes as part of the company’s marketing endeavor to elevate cars into “art forms” that combine technology, design and understanding with people.

With an undisclosed sum of its sponsorship, the LACMA has just acquired two major works ― the light installation “Miracle Mile” by Robert Irwin and James Turrell’s enclosed sphere “Light Reignfall” ― as part of Hyundai-LACMA’s second partnership focus on art and technology.

Hyundai will also sponsor the upcoming exhibition of Diana Thater, whose works involve an immersive experience of light, color and videos, which is scheduled to open at LACMA in November.

It will also support the Art+Technology Lab, opened last year at LACMA, to facilitate exchanges between artists, scientists and corporations.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)