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Nam June Paik

Nam June Paik, Magnet TV, 1965 Television (black and white, silent) with magnet, 28 ⅜ × 19 ¼ × 24 ½ inches (72 × 48.9 × 62.2 cm), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Magnet TV, 1965

Television (black and white, silent) with magnet, 28 ⅜ × 19 ¼ × 24 ½ inches (72 × 48.9 × 62.2 cm), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, TV Chair, 1968 Closed-circuit video (black and white) with television and chair with Plexiglas seat, 33 × 17 × 15 inches (83.2 × 43.2 × 38.1 cm)© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, TV Chair, 1968

Closed-circuit video (black and white) with television and chair with Plexiglas seat, 33 × 17 × 15 inches (83.2 × 43.2 × 38.1 cm)
© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Opus Paintings, 1975 Oil on canvas, in 32 parts, each: 10 × 8 inches (25.4 × 20.3 cm)© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Opus Paintings, 1975

Oil on canvas, in 32 parts, each: 10 × 8 inches (25.4 × 20.3 cm)
© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, The More the Better, 1988 Three-channel video (color, sound) with 1,003 monitors and steel structure, approximately 60 feet (18.3 m) tall, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, The More the Better, 1988

Three-channel video (color, sound) with 1,003 monitors and steel structure, approximately 60 feet (18.3 m) tall, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Untitled [Newspaper Drawing], c. 1990 Oil stick on printed newsprint, 22 ⅝ × 15 ⅛ inches (57.5 × 38.4 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Untitled [Newspaper Drawing], c. 1990

Oil stick on printed newsprint, 22 ⅝ × 15 ⅛ inches (57.5 × 38.4 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, 359 Canal Street, 1991 Desk with wood blocks from George Maciunas demolition, acrylic, television chassis, newspaper clippings, piano key, and letters (authors include Yoko Ono, Ray Johnson, and Wolf Vostell), dimensions variable© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, 359 Canal Street, 1991

Desk with wood blocks from George Maciunas demolition, acrylic, television chassis, newspaper clippings, piano key, and letters (authors include Yoko Ono, Ray Johnson, and Wolf Vostell), dimensions variable
© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Untitled (RCA Victor), 1996 Single-channel video with 22-inch monitor, 43 ½ × 37 ½ × 35 inches (110.5 × 95.3 × 88.9 cm)© Nam June Paik Estate. Photo: Rob McKeever

Nam June Paik, Untitled (RCA Victor), 1996

Single-channel video with 22-inch monitor, 43 ½ × 37 ½ × 35 inches (110.5 × 95.3 × 88.9 cm)
© Nam June Paik Estate. Photo: Rob McKeever

Nam June Paik, Untitled [Console RCA Victor Deluxe], 1996 Single-channel video (color, silent) in a vintage television cabinet with acrylic and toy robot, dimensions variable© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Untitled [Console RCA Victor Deluxe], 1996

Single-channel video (color, silent) in a vintage television cabinet with acrylic and toy robot, dimensions variable
© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Untitled, 1998 Acrylic on canvas, 46 × 67 inches (116.8 × 170.2 cm)© Nam June Paik Estate. Photo: Ben Blackwell

Nam June Paik, Untitled, 1998

Acrylic on canvas, 46 × 67 inches (116.8 × 170.2 cm)
© Nam June Paik Estate. Photo: Ben Blackwell

Nam June Paik, Untitled, 1999 Pastel on paper, 22 ⅜ × 30 inches (56.8 × 76.2 cm)© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Untitled, 1999

Pastel on paper, 22 ⅜ × 30 inches (56.8 × 76.2 cm)
© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Bakelite Robot, 2002 Single-channel video (color, silent) with LCD monitors, colored electric lights, and vintage Bakelite radios, 48 × 50 × 7 ¾ inches (121.9 × 127 × 19.7 cm)© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Bakelite Robot, 2002

Single-channel video (color, silent) with LCD monitors, colored electric lights, and vintage Bakelite radios, 48 × 50 × 7 ¾ inches (121.9 × 127 × 19.7 cm)
© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, TV Cello, 2003 Single-channel video with 20-inch LCD monitor, 15-inch LCD monitor, and 13-inch CRT monitor, 64 ½ × 21 ½ × 23 inches (163.8 × 54.6 × 58.4 cm)© Nam June Paik Estate. Photo: Rob McKeever

Nam June Paik, TV Cello, 2003

Single-channel video with 20-inch LCD monitor, 15-inch LCD monitor, and 13-inch CRT monitor, 64 ½ × 21 ½ × 23 inches (163.8 × 54.6 × 58.4 cm)
© Nam June Paik Estate. Photo: Rob McKeever

Nam June Paik, Golden Buddha, 2005 Closed-circuit video (color) with television and bronze Buddha with permanent oil marker additions, overall: 46 ½ × 31 ¾ × 106 inches (118.1 × 80.6 × 296.2 cm)© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Golden Buddha, 2005

Closed-circuit video (color) with television and bronze Buddha with permanent oil marker additions, overall: 46 ½ × 31 ¾ × 106 inches (118.1 × 80.6 × 296.2 cm)
© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Third Eye Television, 2005 Single-channel video (color, sound) in a vintage television with permanent oil marker and acrylic, 17 ½ × 20 ¾ × 18 ¾ inches (44.5 × 52.7 × 47.6 cm)© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Third Eye Television, 2005

Single-channel video (color, sound) in a vintage television with permanent oil marker and acrylic, 17 ½ × 20 ¾ × 18 ¾ inches (44.5 × 52.7 × 47.6 cm)
© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Lion, 2005 Three-channel video (color, silent) with 2 plasma monitors and 26 CRT monitors and wood lion with acrylic and permanent oil marker additions, 133 × 109 × 65 inches (337.8 × 276.9 × 165.1 cm)© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Lion, 2005

Three-channel video (color, silent) with 2 plasma monitors and 26 CRT monitors and wood lion with acrylic and permanent oil marker additions, 133 × 109 × 65 inches (337.8 × 276.9 × 165.1 cm)
© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Untitled [Cage Composite], 2005 Two-channel video (color, silent) in vintage televisions with electric lights and permanent oil marker, 45 ½ × 21 × 23 ½ inches (115.6 × 53.3 × 59.7 cm)© Nam June Paik Estate

Nam June Paik, Untitled [Cage Composite], 2005

Two-channel video (color, silent) in vintage televisions with electric lights and permanent oil marker, 45 ½ × 21 × 23 ½ inches (115.6 × 53.3 × 59.7 cm)
© Nam June Paik Estate

About

Skin has become inadequate in interfacing with reality. Technology has become the body’s new membrane of existence.
—Nam June Paik

Nam June Paik (1932–2006) brought the television to fine art, treating it as a tactile and multisensory medium and object. Trained as a classical pianist, he came into contact with protagonists of the counterculture and avant-garde movements of the 1960s through his early interests in composition and performance, and this engagement profoundly shaped his outlook at a time when electronic images were becoming increasingly present in everyday life. His groundbreaking work is considered seminal to the development of video art.

Born in Seoul, Paik fled with his family in 1950 to escape the Korean War, traveling first to Hong Kong and then to Japan. After graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1956, he moved to West Germany to continue his studies. There he met the composers Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage, as well as the conceptual artists George Maciunas and Joseph Beuys, all of whom deeply affected his thoughts on performance. He joined the Fluxus group in 1962 and moved from the manual manipulation of audiotapes to experimenting with television sets and their screens. Two years later, by this time living in New York, Paik met the cellist Charlotte Moorman, a central figure of the city’s avant-garde, and the two began a collaboration that would last until her death in 1991. Paik created many of his most well-known works for Moorman, including TV Bra for Living Sculpture (1969) and TV-Cello (1971).

Prior to moving to the United States, Paik had met the engineer Shuya Abe, who would also become a longtime collaborator as well as his assistant. Abe helped Paik make his first robot, Robot K-456, in 1964. Composed of metal fragments, fabric, a data recorder, and a loudspeaker that plays recordings of speeches by John F. Kennedy, Robot K-456 captures Paik’s interest in merging popular media and technology with human traits; possessing abstracted breasts and penis, it moves on wheels and is programmed to periodically defecate beans. Paik showed this remote-controlled robot in several exhibitions and performances in New York throughout the 1960s. In 1982, during his first major museum exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, he took Robot K-456 out into the street to orchestrate an “accident”: the robot walked down Madison Avenue and was hit by a car as it attempted to cross 75th Street. For Paik, this spectacle represented a “catastrophe of technology in the twentieth century.”

Alongside his robotic works, Paik maintained a dynamic drawing practice, both in works on paper and in multimedia sculptures and installations. His modified television sets, in particular, combine the moving image with the free, expressive gesture of abstraction; using brightly colored markers, paints, and other materials, Paik would add expressive layers to the screens. Lion (2005), a monumental assemblage comprising twenty-eight television screens and a hand-painted guardian lion sculpture framed within a wooden arch, displays fast-paced montages of flowers, animals, and fish, as well as footage of lions and Merce Cunningham dancing. Lion is emblematic of Paik’s late style, in which he often reflected upon the many artists and performers who influenced his oeuvre.

Nam June Paik

Photo: Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo/Alamy Stock Photo

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Gagosian’s booth at West Bund Art & Design 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Adam McEwen, © Roe Ethridge, © Alex Israel, © Harmony Korine. Photo: JJYPHOTO

Art Fair

West Bund Art & Design 2022

November 11–13, 2022, booth A102
West Bund Art Center, Shanghai
westbundshanghai.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in the ninth edition of West Bund Art & Design. The gallery will present new works made for the fair by Georg Baselitz, Roe Ethridge, Thomas Houseago, Alex Israel, Harmony Korine, Adam McEwen, Jim Shaw, Alexandria Smith, Spencer Sweeney, and Tatiana Trouvé, alongside works by Ashley Bickerton, Urs Fischer, Katharina Grosse, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, Nam June Paik, Richard Prince, Ugo Rondinone, Ed Ruscha, Richard Wright, and Zeng Fanzhi.

Gagosian’s booth at West Bund Art & Design 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Adam McEwen, © Roe Ethridge, © Alex Israel, © Harmony Korine. Photo: JJYPHOTO

Nam June Paik, Edited for Television, 1975 (still) © Nam June Paik Estate. Photo: courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix

Screening

Nam June Paik’s Radical Fun

Thursday, June 30, 2022, 7:30pm
Anthology Film Archives, New York
anthologyfilmarchives.org

Join us for a video program that brings together a selection of Nam June Paik’s analog video works along with Internet-era works by artists including Ilana Harris-Babou, Frank Heath, Maggie Lee, Guthrie Lonergan, LoVid, and Martine Syms. The selection is curated by Rebecca Cleman, executive director at Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), and copresented by Anthology Film Archives, EAI, and Gagosian, on the occasion of Art in Process, a two-part survey of works by Paik at Gagosian, New York.

Since the early 1960s, Paik’s prescient thinking about how artists can exploit television and computer technology has resonated through generations, particularly with regard to his mischievous opposition to industry conformity. His strongly held belief in the radical potential of fun, and his understanding of technological innovation as nurturing artistic innovation, have remained relevant through profound changes in communication platforms. To attend the event, purchase tickets at ticketing.uswest.veezi.com.

Nam June Paik, Edited for Television, 1975 (still) © Nam June Paik Estate. Photo: courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Georg Baselitz; © Louise Bonnet; © Zeng Fanzhi; © 2019 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All rights reserved; © Rudolf Stingel. Photo: Martin Wong

Art Fair

Art Basel Hong Kong 2022

May 27–29, 2022, booth 1C15
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
www.artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong 2022 with an ensemble of contemporary works by international artists. The gallery’s presentation will feature works by artists including Georg BaselitzLouise BonnetEdmund de WaalUrs FischerKatharina GrosseMark GrotjahnJennifer GuidiSimon HantaïHao LiangDamien HirstThomas HouseagoTetsuya IshidaAlex IsraelEwa JuszkiewiczRick LoweTakashi MurakamiAlbert OehlenNam June PaikGiuseppe PenoneRudolf PolanszkySterling RubyEd RuschaJenny SavilleJim ShawRudolf StingelSpencer SweeneyRachel Whiteread, and Zeng Fanzhi.

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Georg Baselitz; © Louise Bonnet; © Zeng Fanzhi; © 2019 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All rights reserved; © Rudolf Stingel. Photo: Martin Wong

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Museum Exhibitions

Hao Liang, Eight Views of Xiaoxiang—Dazzle, 2015 © Hao Liang. Photo: courtesy UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing

On View

The Dream of the Museum

Through April 23, 2023
M+, Hong Kong
www.mplus.org.hk

The Dream of the Museum examines the concept of found objects to show how artists use cultures as source material to update tradition. Beginning with four pioneers of contemporary art—Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Yoko Ono, and Nam June Paik—the exhibition brings together work by twenty-seven artists from across geographies and generations, including Hao Liang and Andy Warhol, who explore chance and found objects in their work.

Hao Liang, Eight Views of XiaoxiangDazzle, 2015 © Hao Liang. Photo: courtesy UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing

Mary Weatherford, Engine, 2014, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Closed

America. Entre rêves et réalités
La collection du Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Collection

June 9–September 11, 2022
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Canada
www.mnbaq.org

Featuring more than a hundred paintings, photographs, sculptures, and video works drawn from the permanent collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, this exhibition, whose title translates to America. Between Dreams and Realities, offers a broad overview of modern and contemporary American art. Organized thematically, it looks carefully and critically at the notion of the American dream and uncovers how artists have variously grappled with questions of identity, the challenges of globalization, the realities of everyday life in America, and the complexities of its technological and political revolutions. Work by Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Sally Mann, Man Ray, Brice Marden, Nam June Paik, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and Mary Weatherford is included.

Mary Weatherford, Engine, 2014, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Nam June Paik, One Candle, 2004 © Estate of Nam June Paik. Photo: Jon Huffman

Closed

Nam June Paik
The Future Is Now

December 10, 2021–March 27, 2022
National Gallery Singapore
www.nationalgallery.sg

This major exhibition brings together more than two hundred works from throughout Nam June Paik’s five-decade career—from robots made from old TV screens, to his innovative video works, and all-encompassing room-size installations. The exhibition looks at his close collaborations with Joseph Beuys, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Charlotte Moorman, and others. This exhibition originated at the Tate Modern in London.

Nam June Paik, One Candle, 2004 © Estate of Nam June Paik. Photo: Jon Huffman

Nam June Paik, Sistine Chapel, 1993, installation view, Tate Modern, London © Estate of Nam June Paik. Photo: Andrew Dunkley 

Closed

Nam June Paik

May 8–October 3, 2021
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
www.sfmoma.org

This major exhibition brings together more than two hundred works from throughout Nam June Paik’s five-decade career—from robots made from old TV screens, to his innovative video works, and all-encompassing room-size installations. The exhibition looks at his close collaborations with Joseph Beuys, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Charlotte Moorman, and others. This exhibition originated at the Tate Modern in London.

Nam June Paik, Sistine Chapel, 1993, installation view, Tate Modern, London © Estate of Nam June Paik. Photo: Andrew Dunkley 

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Press

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