Art Class: 'Models and Dancers' Alex Katz @ Lotte Museum of Art, Seoul
Art Class is back on Early Grey and Bubble Tea! This time, I spent a month in South Korea this summer so, I am now back and ready to tell you all about it. I went to many inspiring exhibitions, cafes and saw many cool neighbourhoods. All while stuffing my face with wonderful Korean food. So let's jump straight into the first exhibition I went to see when I arrived in Seoul this summer.
Alex Katz's first Korean exhibition opened on the 25th April in the brand new Lotte Museum of Art located on the 7th floor of the Lotte Tower in Jamsil, Seoul. Alex Katz is an American born artist from a Jewish family who is now in his 90s. His work rose to prominence particularly in the 1980s but during the 60s his early work captured the daily lives of the ordinary new yorker. He is a painting, print maker and sculpture who collaborated with many writers and poets in the 1960s and in addition Calvin Klein and other famous brands later on.
I realised while living in Italy that the post-colonial illusion I have been living with my whole life had been completely shattered. After coming to terms with the real heavy racism and prejudice that I had otherwise been protected from having grown up between England and Asia I started to unfathomably question the world around me until the point of sickness. And perhaps that’s why Alex Katz’s work bored me until the point of no return. I think this is probably the first negative post I’ve ever written about an exhibition because usually I try to understand the artistic intention behind their work. I am so sick of these inflicted western expectations of beauty. Wandering through the rooms looking at pale white face after pale white face, blonde bombshell after blonde bombshell I almost fell asleep until I saw one room which actually featured a few people of colour. His exhibition, entitled Models and Dancers, was an homage to the post-colonial world we find ourselves today where WASPs are celebrated for their beauty and elegance and not much more. His paintings were well produced but bland and forgettable. The only part I liked about the exhibition was the part where you could draw and colour in your own pieces and stick them on the wall.
I am being prejudice too I realise. Judging this artist without seeing his work, but maybe I am not so interested in his work? Maybe I am bored already. Why do I need to seek diversity when I could just stick to the abstract work of others? We are in 21st Century and ‘good art’ is still so linear. I’d much rather see a wacky neon coloured display than a cut out of a blonde former supermodel anyway. It's worth noting that he is an artist of his time. His work reflects the period in which he lived in and much of his work focuses on his wife as his subject matter. So my problem is more with Korean curators choosing classic view artists over their own contemporary artists.
Please go and see the exhibition yourself. Don’t listen to my whining on how true inspiration may well and truly be dead. (It’s not, read my post on the Geek Zone and Coco Capitan). But This exhibition is at the Lotte Tower in the Jamsil area of Seoul, South Korea.