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.
September 26–November 9, 2017
Extended through September 17, 2016
A group exhibition of text-based works
June 1–September 17, 2016
The Shape of Time
In Collaboration with Gisèle Croës
November 26, 2015–January 9, 2016
Nam June Paik
The Late Style
September 17–November 7, 2015
Fairs, Events & Announcements
Seattle Art Fair
August 2–5, 2018, booth A09
CenturyLink Field Event Center, Seattle
Gagosian is pleased to present Out of This World: Artists Explore Space, a booth curated by Larry Gagosian for the 2018 Seattle Art Fair. The presentation gathers works that reveal artistic and scientific explorations of the cosmos. Featured artists include Richard Avedon, Andisheh Avini, Chris Burden, Alexander Calder, Vija Celmins, Ellen Gallagher, Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, Neil Jenney, Mike Kelley, Yves Klein, Vera Lutter, Brice Marden, Marc Newson, Nam June Paik, Thomas Ruff, Ed Ruscha, Tom Sachs, Taryn Simon, Yves Tanguy, and Andy Warhol, among others.
Ed Ruscha, Even Though He’s Light Years Away, His Heart Belongs to Me, 1963 © Ed Ruscha
Art Basel Hong Kong
March 29–31, 2018, booth ICI8
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong. To view highlights from the booth in advance of the fair visit www.artsy.com. Our presentation will include works by Georg Baselitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Joe Bradley, Cecily Brown, Glenn Brown, Alexander Calder, John Currin, Willem de Kooning, Edmund De Waal, Jean Dubuffet, Urs Fischer, Lucio Fontana, Walton Ford, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, Jia Aili, Anish Kapoor, Yves Klein, Karen Kneffel, Jeff Koons, Harmony Korine, Roy Lichtenstein, Takashi Murakami, Takashi Murakami & Virgil Abloh, Albert Oehlen, Nam June Paik, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Jenny Saville, Richard Serra, Rudolf Stingel, Mark Tansey, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Jonas Wood, Christopher Wool, and Zeng Fanzhi. Tickets are available at www.artbasel.com.
Zeng Fanzhi, 8, 2018 © Zeng Fanzhi 2018
The Armory Show
March 8–11, 2018, Pier 94, booth 800
Piers 92 and 94, New York
The Gagosian booth will be dedicated to Nam June Paik. The artist’s monumental assemblage Lion (2005), the centerpiece of the booth, is comprised of a hand-painted guardian lion sculpture framed within a wooden arch and twenty-eight television screens of various sizes. The televisions display fast-paced montages of flowers, animals, and fish, as well as real-time footage of lions and of Merce Cunningham dancing. Lion is emblematic of Paik’s “late style,” in which he often reflected upon artists
and performers who influenced his oeuvre. Individual television sculptures and mixed-media works by the artist will also be on view. If you wish to receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are available at www.thearmoryshow.com.
Nam June Paik, Lion, 2005 © Nam June Paik Estate
Nam June Paik
Through October 14, 2018
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California
Nam June Paik’s TV Clock (1963/89) is on view for the first time in nearly a decade. The work consists of twenty-four color televisions mounted upright on pedestals that are arranged in a gentle arc and displayed in a darkened space. Paik created each electronic image by manipulating the television to compress its red, green, and blue colors into a single line against a black background.
Nam June Paik, TV Clock, 1963/89 © Nam June Paik Estate
No Place Like Home
March 1–June 3, 2018
Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon, Portugal
In celebration of Dada’s one hundredth anniversary in 2016 and the centennial of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain in 2017, this exhibition examines how artists have incorporated commonplace household items into their work, removing these objects from the context of the home in ways that subvert the experiences of daily life. This exhibit has traveled from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Work by Duchamp, Duane Hanson, Damien Hirst, Man Ray, Takashi Murakami, Nam June Paik, Robert Therrien, and Andy Warhol is included.
Robert Therrien, No title (table leg), 2010 © Robert Therrien/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Peter Cox
Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today
February 6–May 20, 2018
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
This exhibition examines how the Internet has radically changed the field of art, especially its production, distribution, and reception. The show comprises a broad range of works across a variety of mediums that all investigate the extensive effects of the Internet on artistic practice and contemporary culture. Work by Nam June Paik and Taryn Simon is included.
Nam June Paik, Internet Dream, 1994 © Nam June Paik Estate. Photo: Steffan Harms
Out of Sight! Art of the Senses
November 4, 2017–February 4, 2018
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Out of Sight! Art of the Senses brings together contemporary works of art that actively engage with how our bodies meet the wider world through the
five basic senses. The artists in this exhibition have created experiences that incorporate viewers into the creative process, inviting them to become fully immersed in art that must be smelled, tasted, heard, and felt. Work by Nam June Paik and Robert Therrien is included.
Robert Therrien, No title (folding table and chairs, beige), 2006, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York © Robert Therrien/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York