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Asian Week New York and Korean Art
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승인 2014.03.28  11:49:36
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

▲ The poster of Asia Week is hanged at the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York.

    This is really momentous year for Koreans art to be acknowledged throughout the United States. Following Silla Kingdom exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, three Joseon Dynasty exhibitions are coming to Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Houston. However, there is still more dynamic Korean Art awaits us in New York City during the celebration known as “Asia Week, New York”.
    The Museum Mile in New York City is a consortium of museums that are located along Firth Avenue on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. A nine-day event called “Asian Week, New York” is currently ongoing at the museum mile. It celebrates Asian Art with exhibitions, auctions and lectures presented by 47 leading international Asian art specialists, all held in five major auction houses, and 19 museums and cultural institutions.
    Asian Week kicked off on the evening of Friday, March 14, and was celebrated by a diverse audience. In comparison to the abundant number of art dealers focusing on Chinese, Japanese, and South Asian art, there are only two Korean art dealers participating with very special collections. The imbalance represents the status of Korean art in the world, with great potential to succeed in gaining popularity.

▲Kang Keum-ja, left, president of Kang Collection, posed in front of Moon Jar With Blue Dot (2013-2014), at the Kang Collection. Koo Ji-young, right, president of KooNewYork, posed in front of Korean antique furniture at the KooNewYork.
    Since 2009, a group of 16 galleries collaborated to present an open house on March 14th. By 2011, the Asian Art dealers were officially renamed the “Asia Week New York Association”. Last year was the largest number of galleries, 43, that participated and this year we will break the record. This following is an interview given by the Chonnam Tribune was individually conducted at Kang Collection and KooNewYork. Koo Ji-young and Kang Keum-ja are the most famous and premier Korean Art dealers in New York City. They emphasized rare Korean beauty, not only through contemporary but also through antique furniture. 
    You have devoted your life to bringing recognition to Korean Art in New York City. Could you mention something about Asia Week New York?
    Koo: In early 90s, when I was in auctions at Sotheby’s and Christies, Asia Art dealers worked separately and not in the public but only through .private appointment. For galleries and Art Fairs, the economic crisis in 2008 became the turning point for modifying our mindset.
    Since “Asian Week New York” has opened, how has the visitors’ reaction been? 
    Kang: The traditional motif Moon Jar by contemporary Artist, Ik-Joong Kang, has earned fame and recognition during “Asian Week New York”. Last year, his 1,392 mini moon jars were purchased by Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Moon jar stores people’s dreams, a combination of Korean tradition and contemporary aspects. Like the collaboration with Nam-jun Paik in National Museum of Contemporary Art in Korea, “Asian Week” is a great opportunity for the artist to become world renowned. 
    How could you value Korean art, comparing with Chinese, Japanese and South Asian art?
    Koo: Needless to say, Chinese and Japanese antiquities are always abundant with the number of art works. Relatively rare Korean antiquities were looted during the war, which ironically enhanced the value of Korean Art right after 1988 Seoul Olympics. At that time, the price of each Korean art work was more expensive than any of the others. Likewise, the social phenomenon, art auctions, and museums connect it all together. That was the reason why I founded “Asia Week New York”, to make it full of more energy.
    You continue to be a pioneer in art dealing. How do you contribute to Korean art?
    Kang: Since 1981, I only dealt with Korean art and antiquities; introducing contemporary art only ten years ago. It came from a western collectors’ demand. Contemporary art in my collection means indicating Korean traditional culture. The uniqueness of Korean culture has become a global significance. From this point, Ik-Joong Kang’s “Moon jars” are such an ideal combination of traditions and contemporary motifs. It would be great opportunity to introducing Korean contemporary art in the world.
    Koo: This year’s Korean antique furniture collections are so exceptional that most Americans don’t know how valuable they are. Paintings and sculptures are always the main genre relatively sell out very well. As a Korean art dealer in New York, I am obliged to introduce the world the hidden beauty of Korean art. It is too boring otherwise isn’t it?
    Are there any other comments and messages to Korean readers?
    Koo: Until now, majority of buyers of Korean antiquities are foreigners, not Koreans, over the ages of 80-90 years old. This phenomenon is not only restricted to Korean, but also for Chinese and Japanese antiquities. That means young people relatively prefer to purchase contemporary Art. This has been a dilemma on how we could attract new people into Asian antiquities. From this point, “Asia Week New York” can be the change, fulfilling the broader aim of Asian art in the cultural scene.

By Jang Bo-ram, Overseas Correspondent

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