Artsy: Will there be any special events around the 25th anniversary exhibition at Newark Museum during Asia Week?
KP: On Saturday, March 14th, we will have a Korean festival day
where we will have Korean music and dance performances. Activities for kids of all ages will be held, including traditional Korean games to play and art-making activities such as kite-making and calligraphy.
On May 7th, Dr. Maya Stiller will be presenting a lecture
on Joseon Korean Buddhist art, comparing Korean Buddhist art with Tibetan Buddhist art, which often share similar elements. I’m very excited to invite Dr. Stiller to Newark Museum. She holds two PhDs from Freie Universität Berlin and UCLA, and now teaches at the University of Kansas, which has one of the strongest programs in Korean art in the country.
Artsy: Returning to the museum’s Korean art collection, I was really impressed by the variety of objects in your galleries. Having spent time in Korea myself, I can tell that you curated the gallery with great care for all the different objects in the collection. For this new anniversary exhibition, did you have a particular curatorial approach in mind?
KP: Yes, I wanted to show the grand history of Korean art as well as the diversity of the subject matter. We rank number five in the nation for hosting school groups from preschool, grade school, high school, college, and graduate classes, as well as teacher training. I installed the galleries in a way that students of all ages could get a sense of the amazing history of Korean art, parallel to the way that we try to present art in other regions of Asia and the world. I wanted to show not only historic but also contemporary ceramic traditions, and to introduce the diversity of religious art in Korea. We do feature objects from Korean Buddhist art, Korean shamanic traditions, and Korean Neo-Confucian traditions and hope one day to add appropriate elements of Christian Korean art.
I also wanted to present art that was not specifically or explicitly religious art, so we showcase courtly art, including Joseon-revival furniture and the Joseon ceramics. We will also be rotating different Buddhist and shamanic paintings, as well as literati hanging scroll paintings of bamboo, butterflies, calligraphy, and other subjects that illustrate Korean painting traditions.