Poetry in Clay: Buncheong Ceramics from Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

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© Courtesy of Asian Art Museum
Poetry in Clay: Buncheong Ceramics from Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
September 16th, 2011 - January 8th, 2012
Opening: September 16th, 2011 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Union Square/Civic Center
Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun 10-5; Thu (Jan-Oct) 10-9; Thu (Nov-Dec) 10-5; closed Mon
ceramics, clay


Whimsical, rustic, direct, fresh, audacious, contemporary — these are some of the qualities that have been attributed to the type of Korean ceramics known as buncheong. Buncheong ceramics are formed on a potter's wheel. They are covered with white slip (a mixture of white clay and water), which is decorated in many different ways. The term buncheong, developed in the early twentieth century, means "white-slipped stoneware."

The exhibition Poetry in Clay, opening September 16 and running through January 8, 2012, will fill the museum's Korean art galleries. It features more than fifty-five masterpieces, including six Korean national treasures, from the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul, Korea. In addition, selected Japanese ceramics from the Asian Art Museum's collections show Japanese connections to Korean ceramics. Finally, contemporary buncheong as well as other forms of contemporary art influenced by Korean ceramics, on loan from Korea, demonstrate the vitality of this vibrant art form today.

The aesthetics and functions of buncheong ceramics reflect social developments of the beginnings of the Joseon dynasty at the end of the fourteenth century. Most were everyday wares used by people at many levels of society. Later buncheong allowed for increased regional expressiveness and creativity.

In the second half of the sixteenth century, a vogue for porcelain caused buncheong ceramic production to decline in Korea. But the style continued to be popular in Japan, where it had been introduced by Korean potters transported there following the Japanese invasions of Korea in the 1590s.

During the twentieth century, Korean artists began to revive the buncheong style. Today buncheong continues to inspire contemporary artists. Not only potters but also artists working in other mediums are trying to recapture the natural beauty of traditional buncheong ceramics.

Mark your calendars:
AsiaAlive Artist Demonstration: New Korean Art
Friday, September 16–Sunday, September 18
12:00 noon–4:00 pm
North Court and Education Studios
Free with museum admission

Watch two artists from Korea demonstrate both old and new forms of Korean art. Shin Meekyoung uses ceramic forms and imagery as the inspiration for her soap sculptures, while ceramist Lee Kang Hyo follows an ancient way of pottery making, using a simple kick-wheel and red and white clay. Make an artwork to take home inspired by these artists.

Korea Foundation Korean Culture Day
Family Fun Day
Saturday, September 17
11 am-4:00 pm
Museum wide
Free with museum admission

Enjoy FREE museum admission with the whole family celebrating the Korean moon festival of Chuseok. As a celebration of the good harvest on the day of the autumn full moon, people visit their hometowns and share a feast of traditional food with family and friends. This all-day family fun day offers docent tours, storytelling, food tasting, music, and art. Korean music artist Kang Eun-il & Haegum Plus performs their “New Music” for the first time in the Bay Area. Watch artists Shin Meekyung and Lee Kang Hyo demonstrate new and traditional forms of art making and create your own artworks to take home.

This program is generously supported by the Korea Foundation, in conjunction with the special exhibition, Poetry in Clay: Korean Buncheong Ceramics from Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art.

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