First up is Son Kit’s room, OUR GREAT LEADER WILL NUKE YOU. We don’t usually do this but since you’re here, we figured we’d share part of the Kit’s curatorial statement. This is what it feels like to be an insider.
Kit writes, “The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea,” cautions The New Yorker. “How to Deal With North Korea,” advises The Atlantic. “North Korean despot Kim Jong-un is ‘plotting to nuke Yellowstone super volcano’ and spark eruption that will split US in half,” cries The Sun. The reputability of these individual publications aside, the majority of reporting on the DPRK—whether the close tracking of missile tests or hasty screenshots of Trump’s newest Twitter feud with Kim—constructs an English-language narrative whose plot can only climax in nuclear holocaust.
Expert opinion on the actual possibility of war fluctuates with each new development, but sensationalism profits through steady escalation. Aided in no small part by the impossible personalities of both the U.S. and North Korean leaders, American headlines keep an otherwise footnoted peninsula on the front page for a terrified public.
OUR GREAT LEADER WILL NUKE YOU is an exhibition of works by diasporic Koreans currently residing in the U.S. Displaced (whether directly or generationally) by a war into a country that does not remember it, the hyphenated Korean experiences estrangement in visibility and invisibility: though they are seen as perpetually foreign yellow bodies, their status as American residents implicates them in American fears. If one Great Leader nukes the U.S., they will die with the U.S. If the other Great Leader retaliates with “fire and fury,” who dies then? Who dies first? Who do they fear for? Where do allegiances originate—from land, from blood, from whoever will spare them in the aftermath?
Kit frames the exhibition as a speculation into a post-North Korean nuclear apocalypse. OUR GREAT LEADER WILL NUKE YOU asks specifically after the real and imagined survival of Korean bodies who are subject to the war games and thought exercises of their Western surroundings, and features work by Kira Nam Greene, Son Kit, Tiffany Jaeyeon Shin, and Taehee Whang.
About the Artists
TIFFANY JAEYEON SHIN
Tiffany Jaeyeon Shin (b. 1993) is a Korean-Canadian-American artist, curator, educator, and community organizer. Shin explores the interconnections between sexuality, gender, and transgression; history, memory, and cultural myths; and social hierarchy in relationship to coloniality. Shin uses Taoist indigenous knowledge to explore the porousness of bodily boundaries and the ceaseless movement of living processes, like fermentation, echoing the history of colonialism. Shin is interested in entangling the history of conquest and the literal digestion of material - herbs, medicine, and food - into a new system of relations that emerge from a complicated history of entanglement. Shin lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Shin has collaborated with and/or exhibited at Trestle Gallery, Local Project, Abrons Arts Center, Miranda Kuo Gallery, and many others. Shin has exhibted her firtst solo show at the AC Institute. Shin is the recipient of the NARS Emerging Curator 2017 award. Shin works and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
KIRA NAM GREENE
Kira Nam Greene’s work explores female sexuality, desire and control through lush still-life paintings of food, surrounded by complex patterns and abstract designs. Imbuing the feminist legacies of Pattern and Decoration Movement with transnational/multicultural patterns, Greene creates colorful paintings that are unique combinations of realism and abstraction, employing diverse media such as oil, acrylic, gouache, watercolor and colored pencil. More recently, Greene’s interest in food has expanded into examining ethical aspects of modern food consumption and the proliferation of advertising imagery on our visual culture in a series of paintings of mass produced and brand name food products. In this latest series, Greene combines typical Pop Art tropes with global motifs, subverting the marketing slogans out of context among highly crafted patterns rooted in older cultural traditions. Born in Seoul, Korea, Greene lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA from School of Visual Arts, BFA from San Francisco Art Institute, Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University and BA in International Relations from Seoul National University. Greene has shown her work widely at venues such as Accola Griefen Gallery, Jane Lombard Gallery, Kiechel Fine Art, A.I.R. Gallery, Brown University, Salisbury University, Wave Hill, Bronx Museum of Art, Noyes Museum and Sheldon Museum of Art.
Taehee Whang is a Korean American interdisciplinary artist and educator who works in video, printmaking, and sculpture. They completed their BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2016. They collaborated and worked with various institutions such as Eyebeam, Asian Art Archive, Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMANY), Studio REV-, BUFU, RISD Museum, and New York Arts Practicum (NYAP).
First spawned in Los Angeles, CA, Son Kit scored their degrees in Visual Art and Literary Arts at Brown University in Providence, RI. Kit employs climate change fantasy as allegory for displacement and diaspora and utilizes video, illustration, installation, and text to explore non-binary second-gen yellow narratives in pursuit of a New Canon of Korean-American Speculative Fiction Authored Entirely By Them. Kit has most recently exhibited with the New Museum, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, SOHO20, The Naughton Gallery, OUTLET, and Associated Gallery. They are a Co-founder and Chief Curator at Codify Art, a multidisciplinary collective of, and platform for, QTPOC artists.