House music, stripping ― and art, too

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House music, stripping ― and art, too

The capital’s party scene gets artistic tomorrow night ― assuming that by “artistic” one means “provocative.”
At S Bar, in the heart of glitzy Cheongdam-dong in southern Seoul, the “Unknown Night With Nancy Lang” party will feature house music played by the Japanese DJ and drag queen Envy, along with two “go-go boy” club dancers from Tokyo. What makes it more than another night at the clubs, though, will be an exhibition and performance by Nancy Lang, a U.S.-born Korean artist.
Dubbed “walking Pop Art” by some, Lang got her degree from Hongik University’s graduate school in 2000, and has made a name for herself both locally and internationally with her provocative and notorious performances.
Formerly Park Hye-ryung, she held both Korean and American citizenship until age 18, when she legally took her current name and gave up her Korean citizenship. But she’s spent most of her life in Korea.
“Jessica Lange, Helmut Lang... The last name Lang represents multiple ethnicities. It can be American, Jewish, Irish or Chinese, so I changed my name, legally and permanently,” she said in an interview.
Despite a relatively short career, Lang has gotten herself noticed. In her piece “Uninvited Dreams and Conflicts: Taboo Yogini Series (II),” which she performed last year at both the Venice Biennale and in New York City’s Times Square, she dressed scantily and clumsily played the violin in the street.
In Korea earlier this year, at the Gwangju Biennale, she offered passersby autographed posters of herself in the nude. Earlier this year she dressed up as a vampire for a Hongdae club party in what she called an experiment in fusing art with popular culture, with the participation of ordinary people.
This weekend’s party at S Bar is a continuation of Lang’s attempt to move art out of the space that’s traditionally reserved for it. She plans to display wall-size paintings from her “Yogini” series ― depicting what she says is a mythological figure, a messenger between the gods and man ― and play a 10-minute animated version on the screen all night.
For her performance, which starts around 10 p.m., she plans to appear as a dominatrix, dressed in nothing but lingerie under a fur coat, along with a group of male models dressed as various personas ―college student, businessman, doctor and so on. Then she plans to strip them of their clothing one at a time.
“The paintings I’m showing there are the image of the contemporary Joan d’Arc. Women have never had so much power in society, compared to the Joseon Dynasty, so I want to show people the power of women today.
“Also, I want to make my performance a part of the whole party,” she said.
Near midnight, DJ Envy, accompanied by Japanese club performers Ice and Makoto, will pump up the mood with a round of new house music. The lanky DJ, who was last in Korea in May, has chosen “Sex in the City” as her fashion theme for the evening.
“This is not only because I love the drama, but also I know the show’s stylist Pat Field, who I admire so much,” she said in an e-mail.
Kim Sung-min, the party’s organizer, said his company plans to bring Lang’s art-meets-party concept to Beijing and Hong Kong early next year.

by Ines Cho

“Unknown Night with Nancy Lang” starts at 8 p.m. and continues to 3 a.m. at S Bar, which is located between Galleria Department Store and California Fitness Center in Cheongdam-dong in southern Seoul. Tickets are 30,000 won ($25). For more information, call S Bar at (02) 534-7626 or e-mail MK Project at
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