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Elaine Ildan Choi, Here and Now

A Part of The Master's Atelier Series

The Korean Cultural Center New York sheds light on the life and art of artist Elaine Ildan Choi (b. 1936), in a special documentary and online exhibition that features not only her selected artworks, but the story of her turbulent life and fierce spirit that has remained a constant thread throughout. The video will be unveiled on March 8th, 2022 to commemorate International Women’s Day and also as a part of Asia Week New York 2022.

The mini documentary follows her life spanning more than 80 years as she navigates through the tumultuous times from the Japanese occupation of Korea, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and as she builds her life around the world starting from Seoul, Korea to Paris, Beijing, and finally to New York.

Known master of Korean traditional ink paintings and a close mentor to Elaine Ildan Choi at Seoul National University, artist Chang Woo-Sung (pen name: Wol-Chun), compared her spirit to the passionate madness of the Qing Dynasty monk-artist, Zhudab, who had famously said “Nothing can be achieved without madness.” Choi’s life is undeniably an embodiment of “passion” itself.

In this exhibition and documentary, her long-time Manhattan apartment that acts as her studio and living space is unveiled to the public for the first time. Her living, breathing apartment is a self-portrait of Choi herself as it densely contains the layers of her nuanced and complex world and her free-spirited passion strewed across genres of painting, sculpture, textile, pottery, and installation works.

For more information and for related programs, please visit the Korean Cultural Center New York’s website, click here

Programs and Events

2022 Public Lecture Series

The Other Side of Steel: The Sculpture of John Pai
Recorded lecture by Professor John Yau, Professor of Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University

The lecture presents a trailblazing sculptor and accomplished professor, John Pai, whose artworks and influence spans disciplines, institutions, and continents. Moved to the US when he was 12 years old and raised by an American family in West Virginia, John Pai is one of the first Korean contemporary artists to make waves in the United States, with his welded mesh-like steel sculptures that garnered attention from the wider contemporary art scene. A graduate of Pratt Institute, he went on to join his alma mater as its youngest faculty member in 1965, where he went on to teach for over 40 years and was a major catalyst behind the growth of the school’s undergraduate sculpture program. Poet, writer, and professor at Rutgers University John Yau explores John Pai’s distinguished career in this lecture, mapping his path and influence on both American and Korean contemporary art over several decades.

To watch the recorded lecture, click here