The Korean boy band BTS launched an international public art initiative.

Christy Kuesel
Jan 14, 2020 5:57PM, via The Art Newspaper

BTS. Courtesy Connect, BTS.

After a sold out world tour, speaking before the United Nations, and amassing an army of more than 23 million Twitter followers, K-pop band BTS is taking on the art world. The boy band has launched a globe-spanning initiative called “CONNECT, BTS,” comprising five free public art projects in collaboration with renowned artists and curators. The project as a whole is curated by Daehyung Lee, BTS’s artistic director and the curator of the Korean pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

The project launched today in London with an audio-visual work by Danish artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen. Catharsis, also available online, simulates an ancient forest and will be on view at the Serpentine Galleries through March 15th. Next up will be a series of performance pieces, “Rituals of Care,” featuring works by more than a dozen artists; it opens at Gropius Bau in Berlin on Wednesday.

Tomás Saraceno, Museo Aero Solar, 2007. Courtesy Connect, BTS.

Other projects slated for BTS’s global art takeover include Tomás Saraceno’s Fly with Aerocene Pacha, which will attempt to fly a human through the sky without the aid of fossil fuels, solar panels, batteries, or helium. It will be filmed in Salinas Grandes, and shown in Buenos Aires. Ann Veronica Janssens and Yiyun Kang will both show at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul. Finally, British sculptor Antony Gormley’s New York Clearing will create a vast “drawing in space” through 11 miles of square aluminium tubing.

In a statement quoted by The Art Newspaper, BTS said:

Contemporary art and music are also two different worlds. This project is especially meaningful to us because it truly represents diversity and creates a collective, positive message for the world that we value. Through this project, we hope to return the great amount of love and support from our fans, Army, and all audiences.
Christy Kuesel