The artwork and ideas of the Korean-born artist Nam June Paik were a major influence on late twentieth-century art and continue to inspire a new generation of artists. Nam June Paik: Global Visionary offers an unprecedented view into the artist’s creative method by featuring key artworks that convey Paik’s extraordinary accomplishments as a major international artist as well as material drawn from the Nam June Paik Archive, which was acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum from the artist’s estate in 2009.
The exhibition includes nearly 70 artworks and more than 120 items from the Archive. Several rare artworks borrowed from private and public collections in the United States and abroad, including TV Garden (1974) from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Buddha Complex (1982) from the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, and Paik’s rarely seen installation Moon Projection with E Moon and Birds (1996), on loan from the Paik Estate, are featured. Three exceptional artworks from the museum’s collection will be included: Zen for TV (1963/1976), Megatron/Matrix (1995), and Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii (1995).
Nam June Paik: Global Visionary offers the extraordinary range of the artist’s accomplishments and the complexity of his ideas. It features his personal history through thematic groupings that draw on the resources of the Nam June Paik Archive. Paik’s writings and the materials he collected reveal the influences of Asian and Western philosophy, as well as developments in technology and science. The museum will use these materials to show the development of his innovative and radical conceptualization of the future roles of communication technologies in the expanding global media culture. John G. Hanhardt, senior curator of film and media arts and the leading expert on Paik and his global influence, is organizing the exhibition with the assistance of Michael Mansfield, associate curator of film and media arts.
One of the robots created by Paik has “come to life” on Twitter under the handle @PaikBot. PaikBot goes behind-the-scenes during the exhibition installation, and will share interesting facts about Paik and will answer questions about the exhibition. Also, you can help PaikBot travel the world in our Flat PaikBot project. Follow the museum for exhibition updates on Facebook at or on Twitter by using #paik. Photographs documenting the installation of the exhibition will be posted to the museum’s photo stream on Flickr.