In late May, a group from the New Museum traveled to Seoul, Korea, where we were invited to curate a one-night exhibition event. I tapped Lauren Cornell, Executive Director of Rhizome and Adjunct Curator at the New Museum, to commission three digital interactive environments and select a series of video works to appear on the largest outdoor screen in the world. Seoul is populated with these large-scale, LED-covered edifices and we conceived this program as a tribute to Nam June Paik, the Korean-born father of video and digital art. Over thirty years ago, Paik predicted that one day all skyscrapers would be covered with screens and moving images. Today, his prophecy is being realized in cities like Shanghai, Seoul, and New York. We made use of a twenty-five-story-high screen in Seoul Square that faces Seoul train station where millions pass daily. The immersive interactive environments by Scott Snibbe, Rafaël Rozendaal, and Flightphase captivated the audience and turned viewers into choreographers and performers by animating and reconfiguring the imagery through their movements. The video works on the LED screen were overwhelming as they transformed the cityscape and suggested the enormous potential these giant screens (used almost excessively for advertising) have as platforms for public art. This pop-up exhibition was supported by Calvin Klein with the cooperation of GANA Art.
Seoul is a vibrant, cultural hub with a strong art and architecture community. A new design museum by Zaha Hadid is materializing and a new National Museum is also being built. There is Samsung—whose Leeum Museum was hosting an ambitious exhibition of works by Doh-Ho Suh (their most popular exhibition to date)—Artsonje, which had wonderful photographs of soldiers by Shinro Ohtake, and a number of smaller art spaces like art space pool (our Hub partner) and Plateau, as well as a lively gallery scene and many strong artists. While we were there, Kukje Gallery opened a beautiful Louise Bourgeois exhibition and PKM Gallery had an impressive exhibition by Olafur Eliasson. Both rivaled anything we might see in New York.