Doosan launches NYC gallery, artist program

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Doosan launches NYC gallery, artist program

Korean artists will soon have their own atelier in the heart of New York City’s gallery scene.

Doosan Art Center, which is run by the Yonkang Foundation, is launching a residency program for Korean artists and a gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood, which is home to a cluster of around 600 galleries.

Doosan Gallery is the third Korean gallery to open a branch in New York, following in the footsteps of Arario Gallery and Gana Art Gallery.

Although there are already a handful of Korean galleries in the Big Apple, Doosan is the first to operate an artists’ studio to support the activities of Korean artists.

Doosan Residency New York will invite three Korean artists to participate in its residency program of between six to 12 months. During that time, the artists will be introduced to curators and art critics to help advance their careers. The gallery will also try to build networks with international art groups.

Artists will also be provided with housing in a nearby apartment building.

“The program will offer systematic and professional help to young Korean artists,” said Choe Man-shik, vice president of the Yonkang Foundation.

It is also meaningful that Doosan Residency New York is registered as a nonprofit foundation, which provides a legal basis for the artists to apply for and receive funding from other U.S. foundations.

“Doosan has been preparing for the residency program and gallery since last year. The Chelsea area is an ideal place to promote Korean contemporary art,” said Jay Jongho Kim, independent curator and director of Doosan Gallery.

It was a difficult choice for Doosan to open a gallery at this point in time given that a number of New York galleries have closed their doors under the strain of the economic downturn. Ironically, the sluggish economy was what presented Doosan with the opportunity to carry out its plans.

“It is not easy to open a gallery in Chelsea, but this time it was easier because of the bad economy,” Kim said.

The gallery and the studio will be open on July 9 but the apartment building is already available to the artists.

The opening exhibition, “New Odyssey,” features the three artists chosen for the residency program: Choe U-ram, Chung Sue-jin and Lee Hyung-koo.

Lee is famous for his skeleton installations. He will exhibit a series titled “Animatus.”

One of the pieces in this series, “Mus Animatus & Felis Catus Animatus,” features two skeletons, not unlike what one might see in a museum of natural history. They are displayed in a pitch-black room illuminated by dramatic lighting. One skeleton appears as a predator chasing its prey, and looks something like a scene from the animated cartoon “Tom and Jerry.”

Lee’s first solo exhibition was at the 2007 Venice Biennale. His second came the following year, when he exhibited his work at the Natural History Museum in Basel, Switzerland.

Choe is known for his large metallic sculptures. He participated in the Basel Art Fair and Madrid’s Arco Art Fair. In 2008, he exhibited “Opertus Lunula Umbra,” which is made of aluminum, steel and plastic, at the Liverpool Biennale.

Choe creates objects like flowers and insects using metal, lamps, electric motors and computer processing units. His works have sharp-edged steel bodies, but contain an air of sentimentality.

Chung, known for her diverse techniques and colors, held a solo exhibition at Arario Gallery New York.


By Limb Jae-un [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]

“Mus Animatus & Felis Catus Animatus” by Lee Hyung-koo

“Opertus Lunula Umbra” by Choe U-ram. Provided by Doosan Gallery
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