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Interview with Virginia Moon, Assistant Curator of Korean Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA

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Date 2017-10-12 Event period ~ Read 441
Interview with Virginia Moon, Assistant Curator of 
Korean Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA


Interview with Virginia Moon, Assistant Curator of Korean Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA

For this month’s issue, we visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the largest encyclopedic museum in the western part of the United States, and spoke with Virginia Moon, assistant curator of Korean Art.


Please tell us about LACMA and what you do.
With generous funding from the Korea Foundation, LACMA’s first permanent installation of Korean Art opened on October 1999 and represented the largest and most comprehensive display of Korean art outside of the peninsula. The installation comprised of four rooms, each dedicated to a specific period or theme. In September 2009, LACMA unveiled the newly-reinstalled Korean galleries on the plaza level of the Hammer Building (approximately 6700 square feet). Representing artwork from the fifth to the twentieth century, the installation featured more than one hundred objects out of over 400 objects in the collection dating from the Three Kingdoms period (first century BC–late seventh century AD) to the Joseon period (1392–1910). Today, with 6 galleries devoted to Korean art, LACMA continues to hold the largest space outside of Korea with art dedicated to the entire expanse of Korean art.
Furthermore, LACMA and the Korean Art Department always welcome members of the Consulate-General, diplomats, and political figures who are interested in seeing what kinds of Korean art are shown in LACMA specifically and in America, in general. But the more accurate reality is that we welcome meeting people of any status who wish to know more about our collection. It is always a genuine pleasure to meet and spend time with people who express a real interest or intellectual curiosity in Korean art. To this end, exhibitions are LACMA’s strongest way to invite loyal supporters and also to make new friends.
I serve as the Assistant Curator of Korean Art, hired in 2013. In addition to organizing exhibitions, my commitments include regularly presenting on pertinent topics of Korean art at annual academic conferences such as the Association of Asian Studies and the Association of Korean Studies in Europe. With the goal of reaching a larger audience with which to share Korean art, and in addition to LACMA-planned events and gallery/exhibition tours, I give lectures to various organizations and museums. We have just opened our newest exhibition, Unexpected Light: Works by Young-Il Ahn, in the Korean galleries in the Hammer building at LACMA. It is an historic show given that it is the first time a Korean-American artist has been featured in a solo show at LACMA.

Please tell us what activities are Korea-related, especially with the KF.
The Korea Foundation is the bedrock of our ability to carry out our different events. With the previous Treasures of Korea exhibition which toured the US and was organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2014, the foundation helped us to put together an important and impactful Korea Day, allowing LACMA to invite a world-renowned scholar of the Korean Joseon dynasty, arranging a wondrous Korean tea ceremony, and having a world-class traditional music ensemble with Ahn Sookseon, an event which was filled to capacity.
In preparation for our upcoming major exhibitions, the Korea Foundation is offering us much needed assistance in the form of museum interns. Furthermore, thanks to the ongoing support and generosity of the Korea Foundation, LACMA has initiated a 5-part Korean art lecture series to offer casual and yet informative lectures on specific genres of art. We have invited experts and scholars from both the US and all over the world. This year, we started with an overview of Korean galleries, Korean furniture designs, Korean ceramics, and pottery from the Three Kingdoms period. An introduction of contemporary Korean art is planned for next year.

Please tell us future plans of LACMA.
The proposed Peter Zumthor-designed building for LACMA will be dedicated to the museum’s permanent collection, including Korean art. Construction will begin in the second half of 2018 and will be completed in 2023.
Our museum has been very lucky to have been chosen as the first US museum to engage in a 10-year partnership with the Hyundai Motor Company’s philanthropic endeavors. The partnership, which will run from 2015 to 2024, will be two-pronged, incorporating the general contemporary interests of LACMA and three major Korean exhibitions. Scheduled for Spring 2019, we will have a major exhibition on Korean Writing and Calligraphy in the Resnick Pavilion. In 2022 and 2024, we will feature major exhibitions on some aspects of Korean contemporary art and Korean modern art of the early 20th century, respectively. None of these three themes have ever been presented on this scale in the US before, and although it seems years away, we are very excited to prepare to bring this art to the American public.




KF LA Office

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