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Portrait of Kyunghee Pyun (Part 2)

Associate Professor

Kyunghee Pyun (Part 2)

  • School of Liberal Arts
  • History of Art

Interpreting Modernism in Korean Art
Fluidity and Fragmentation

Co-Author: Jung-Ah Woo

This book includes essays surveying modern art practiced by Korean artists from the 1900s to the 1970s. In Korea like other places in Asia and South America, modernism and modernity have a long span of emergence and development. This book discusses how the ideas of modernity and the practices of modernism in visual arts were introduced, disseminated, and transformed from the Korean Empire to the Republic of Korea. Authors focus on advertising images, traditional ink painting for new eras, textbook illustrations, oil painting, exhibition systems, art education, art criticism, modern tea salons, and other agencies of modern art in Korea.

Cover of Interpreting Modernism in Korean Art

How did you first come up with the idea for this work?
It was back in 2010 when my co-editor Jung-Ah Woo and I organized a panel at the Association for Asian Studies held in Philadelphia. The panel’s discussion led us to propose a book. It took almost ten years because we were busy raising young children. Now they are teenagers!

What was your research process like?
By reading contributing essays, I learned so much and improved my vision of Korean modern and contemporary art.

Does this work relate to your role at FIT? If so, how?
I started a new course, HA240 Modern and Contemporary Korean Art in the fall of 2021. I envisioned this book from the beginning to be a textbook for this course.

What was your biggest challenge? What was most rewarding?
Getting image permissions was a challenge. Some works were in the public domain while others were in private estate. It was a pleasure to convene amazing scholars together for this project.

  • Time to publication: 10 years
  • Professor at FIT since 2013