In-Between Places: Korean American Artists in the Bay Area

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In-Between Places: Korean American Artists in the Bay Area

5000 MacArthur Blvd.
94613 Oakland
September 13th, 2017 - December 10th, 2017
Opening: September 16th, 2017 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Union Square/Civic Center
Tue, Thu-Sun 11-4; Wed 11-7:30


Mills College Art Museum (MCAM) is pleased to present In-Between Places: Korean American Artists in the Bay Area featuring new work by Jung Ran Bae; Sohyung Choi; Kay Kang; Miran Lee; Youngjune Lew; Nicholas Oh; Younhee Paik; and Minji Sohn. The artists featured in In-Between Places reveal the reality and complexities of being a Korean American artist in the Bay Area—a location that has served as a gateway for Korean culture and a bridge between Korea and the West.

Since the beginning of the Korean diaspora, many Korean Americans have described their cultural identity as occupying an in-between space. Existing bi-culturally, on a median of “otherness” within a Korean and Western purview, Korean American artists often lack the affirmation of owning and belonging to a singular cultural vernacular.

This intersection of identities impacts how the work of Korean American artists is critically and popularly received. In Korea, Korean American art is often dismissed as American and or marginalized as specifically Korean in the United States. In-Between Places acknowledges the infinitely evolving and nuanced ways Korean Americans interpret and express history, culture, and art. Reflecting on the relationship of Korean American artists to artmaking in the Bay Area, the exhibition offers fresh considerations on the intricacies of cultural identity.

New works, commissioned specifically for this exhibition, embrace Korean and Western, traditional and contemporary approaches to art making. Painting, drawing, ceramics and bojagi (traditional Korean cloth wrapping) are represented alongside video, performance, and an art installation that incorporates beosun, (traditional socks worn by women). In-Between Places claims space for Korean Americans within the landscape of contemporary art and reflects the distinctive contribution of Korean Americans to artistic production in the Bay Area.

Organized by the Mills College Art Museum, In-Between Places is curated by independent curator Linda Inson Choy (a specialist in contemporary Korean art) and Consulting Curator Hyonjoeng Kim Han, Associate Curator of Korean Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. The exhibition is accompanied by an academic catalogue that includes a contextual essay on Korean American artists in the Bay Area by Mills College Professor Mary-Ann Milford, Ph.D.; a conversation between the curators, and interviews with the participating artists.

In-Between Places: Korean American Artists in the Bay Area is supported through the generosity of the Korean Foundation and the Carpenter Foundation.

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