The Hammer Museum at UCLA will present “Only the Young: Experimental Art in Korea, 1960s–1970s,” a groundbreaking exhibition dedicated to Korean experimental art (silheom misul) and its artists, whose radical approach to materials and process produced some of the most significant avant-garde practices of the twentieth century.
The Hammer Museum’s presentation, on view Feb. 11-May 12, is the exhibition’s first and only venue on the West Coast. Prior to the Hammer, the exhibition debuted at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (May 26-July 16, 2023) and traveled to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (Sept. 1, 2023-Jan. 7).
“We are tremendously excited to bring this exhibition to Los Angeles – a city with deep connections to Korean culture and home to the largest population of Korean descendants in the nation,” Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum, said. “The artists featured in this exhibition represent a particularly important and compelling era within the recent history of Korean art and add greater dimension to the study of art made around the world in the last 60 years.”
Only the Young examines artistic production from an era of remarkable transformation in South Korea, when young artists who came of age in the decades following the Korean War reflected and responded to the changing socioeconomic, political and material conditions that accompanied the nation’s rapid urbanization and modernization.
The exhibition centers on a network of key artists, including Ha Chong-Hyun, Jung Kangja, Kim Kulim, Lee Kang-So, Lee Kun-Yong, Lee Seung-taek and Sung Neung Kyung, who, in addition to creating boundary-pushing works of art, pursued exhibitions, performances, publications, and public seminars, often under the rubric of self-organized collectives. Porous in nature, groups such as the Korean Avant Garde Association, Space and Time and the Fourth Group, as well as nationwide exhibition platforms such as the Daegu Contemporary Art Festival and international biennials, provided fertile grounds for innovative – and often provocative – practices that broke definitively with those of their predecessors. While the artists never formally announced a movement, the term “experimental art” was first historicized in a landmark publication by Kim Mikyung, which has since propelled a reexamination of this influential but understudied group of artists.
Admission to all exhibitions and programs at the Hammer Museum is free. Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Hammer Museum is located at 10899 Wilshire Blvd. Onsite parking $8 (maximum 3 hours) or $8 flat rate after 5 p.m. Visit hammer.ucla.edu for details or call (310)443-7000.