In Take My Money / Take My Body, K-Pop is an entry point for a question about the promises of popular media within highly bureaucratic, surveilled, and macro-scaled communities such as corporations/nations. Whether a data-mining social platform, exploitative culture industry, or resurgent populist movement, these larger systems structure the very conditions in which we find our (best) selves, albeit at contentious costs and rapidly-inflating prices. Popular media is the emergent interface for such a transaction. What, then, can we make of the joyful feeling of being a willing subject, or one of many in a captive audience?
The productions and fan communities of K-Pop bring new critical vocabularies to bear on this discourse. Characterized by a dialectic of heartfelt engagement and cynical manipulation, K-Pop is a contested cultural stage where trans-Pacific choreographies of invasion, seduction, and disidentification unfold daily over live-stream. Grounded in works by an intergenerational group of artists from China, Cuba, South Korea, Spain and the United States, and supported by programming that reaches out to fans in Los Angeles, Take My Money / Take My Body adopts the verbs, exclamations, and affects of K-Pop and its constitutive communities as a theoretical framework to address the complexities of subjecthood, consumerism, and politics.
For example, “shipping” in fan culture refers to a practice of constructing speculative and often queer relationships between real or fictional characters; it is a transfiguration of personal desire into narrative that simultaneously augments and subverts the official story. Take My Money / Take My Body ships contemporary art and K-Pop to create affective bonds across hierarchies of knowledge, taste, and access, drawing unsettling parallels between this newest permutation of the “hallyu wave” and the global rise of fascist and populist movements—from their resonant media strategies to literal choreographic tropes. In this vein, we embrace shipping as a curatorial methodology that accommodates intimate dissimilarities of form, content, and audience as a means of transgressing and co-opting dominant narratives of analysis, sex, nation, consumption, and class in ways more subtle—and more generous—than resistance.
Narei Choi is an artist and independent curator based in New York.
Nicolas Orozco-Valdivia is Assistant Curator at The Mistake Room.
Featuring artists Peggy Ahwesh, Olivia Campbell, Jiwon Choi, Mike Grimm, Han Sol Ip, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Ahmet Ö?üt, Levi Orta, and Chung Qin.
Support for the Emerging Curators Program is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for The Visual Arts and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
Peggy Ahwesh is a media artist based in Brooklyn, who has worked in a range of technologies and methods over several decades. Recent exhibitions include: Verily! the Blackest Sea, the Falling Sky, video installation & artist-in-focus at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, UK (2017); Artist in Profile, Experimenta India, Bangalore (2017); City Thermogram, site-specific projections in Times Square (2015); and the third body, a conference dedicated to Ahwesh’s films at the British Film Institute, London (2013.) Ahwesh has received grants from the Alpert Award, Creative Capital, Guggenheim, and NYSCA. Her work is available from EAI, New York; Lightcone, Paris and in association with Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn. Find her on the web at Senses of Cinema/Great Directors Critical Database, World Picture, and the Brooklyn Museum, Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art. Ahwesh is Professor of Film at Bard College and has taught in the Al Quds-Bard College Partnership, Palestine and in the Bard Prison Initiative.
Olivia Campbell, b.1996 in Memphis, TN. She is a born southerner who is ready to die out west. She graduated from Pomona College with a studio arts major. She currently works in advertising trying to convince people logos mean things.
Jiwon Choi (South Korea), born 1991, completed her MFA in photography, video, and related media at School of Visual Arts. She works in the mediums of moving images, and performance. She lives and works in New York City. Her recent exhibitions and screenings include “Parallel,” the Box, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, United States, “New Filmmakers”, Anthology Film Archives, New York, United States, “FLOW”, Raven Row, London.
Cultural hegemony, the portrayal of women, and the ephemeral substance of contemporary culture led her into making critical commentaries by way of performance and video art. Through the experience of living in different cultures, she has developed a curiosity towards a phenomenon that is relevant to the places where she resides and to where she comes from.
Mike Grimm (b. 1993) works with social/historical narratives and conceptual designs in clothing. Drawing parallels between techniques/ideas employed in fashion and natural processes, he stages object interactions to enact the ceremonial procession of matter, drawing attention to the physical, universal nature of social narratives.
Han Sol Ip is an artist and organizer towards alternative socialities. Based in Seoul and active in radical feminist and fan communities, her creative practice is a byproduct of her participation, consumption, and relating within these niche cultural spaces. It can also be seen as a living, celebratory archive of these movements and their productions: in one sense, fan-art. Sol Ip often works collaboratively or anonymously and mainly circulates her work in exclusive online cafes; this is her first time exhibiting in a U.S. contemporary art context.
Gelare Khoshgozaran (b. 1986, Tehran, Iran) lives and works in Los Angeles. Khoshgozaran received her BA in photography from University of Arts in Tehran, in 2009, and MFA from University of Southern California in 2011. Recent solo exhibitions and performances include Articule, Montreal, QC (2018), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (2017); Human Resources, Los Angeles (2016); Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (2016); and the Queens Museum, Flushing, New York (2016). Her work has been part of group exhibitions including the 2018 Hammer Museum Made in LA Biennial, LAXART, Los Angeles (2017); Pori Art Museum, Finland (2015); and Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta (2013). She has had residencies at Capp Street Project (2018), The Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson (2017), The Echo Park Film Center (2017); Krannert Art Museum (2016); and Santa Fe Art Institute (2016). Khoshgozaran is the recipient of an Art Matters Award (2017), a Rema Hort Mann Foundation grant (2016), The Andy Warhol Foundation Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant (2015), and California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Arts, Emerging Artist Fellowship (2015). She is a co-founding editor of contemptorary.org.
Ahmet Ö?üt was born in Diyarbakir, Turkey in 1981. He is an internationally-renowned sociocultural initiator and conceptual artist. For his work, Ö?üt consistently seeks out collaborators from outside of the art world, finding unique ways to grapple with complex social issues ranging from migration to civil unrest with a sense of humor. Ö?üt shaped the installation of the NSK State Pavilion, a satellite project taking place during the 57th Venice Biennale.
Levi Orta. In my work I explore the creative component of politics, focusing on the inaccuracies of the art- political boundary. I reproduce mechanisms, strategies and behaviors of political-artistic situations that have been filed, thus highlighting its most subversive undertone; always from a cynical stance that threatens the hegemonic. In this auto-built creation space, I can freely look for ways to reverse power relations using cracks of the structure in order to parody restrictions, standards and protocols. Camouflage, exploitation, appropriation, copying, editing, archiving, could describe the different processes that I use to agitate the power and take it to the permeable field of art. Under an apparent calm, the projects show to the viewer scandalous issues that are decoded under a cynical view.
Chung Qin (b. 1996, Chongqing, China) is a sculptor, painter and video artist whose work explores the ways in which the body becomes inseparable, or parasitic, to the built environment and synthetic objects. She thinks of the inhabited domestic space as prosthetics to the body, and is interested in how the body appears after being extracted from its shell. After spending four years as an international student in the United States, she discovers a discontinuity between her experience as Han Chinese, a politically, culturally, and economically dominant majority in mainland China, and as a woman of color in the U.S. In her work, she attempts to visualize a physical and psychological displacement through merging of materials and subversion of cultural tropes within the domestic space.