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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 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 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

Website

paikstudios.com

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Adam McEwen, Escape from New York, 2014 (still from “Battery Tunnel”) © Adam McEwen

Online Exhibition

Broadcast
Alternate Meanings in Film and Video

You’re only as young as the last time you changed your mind.
—Timothy Leary

Gagosian is pleased to present Broadcast: Alternate Meanings in Film and Video, an online exhibition of artists’ films and videos viewable exclusively on gagosian.com. The exhibition will be organized into a series of “chapters,” each lasting two weeks. The first chapter begins on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Broadcast: Alternate Meanings in Film and Video employs the innate immediacy of time-based art to spark reflection on the here and now, taking the words of famed psychologist and countercultural icon Timothy Leary as its starting point. 

Adam McEwen, Escape from New York, 2014 (still from “Battery Tunnel”) © Adam McEwen

John Currin, Young Woman on a Lounger, 2014 © John Currin

Art Fair

Taipei Dangdai 2020

January 17–19, 2020, booth E20
Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center
taipeidangdai.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Taipei Dangdai 2020, presenting works by Georg Baselitz, John Currin, Edmund de Waal, Urs Fischer, Katharina Grosse, Damien Hirst, Robert Indiana, John Mason, Takashi Murakami, Takashi Murakami & Virgil Abloh, Albert Oehlen, Nam June Paik, Steven Parrino, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Spencer Sweeney, Tom Wesselmann, and Jonas Wood, among others. 

To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at taipeidangdei.com

Download the full press release in English (pdf), Simplified Chinese (pdf), or Traditional Chinese (pdf)

John Currin, Young Woman on a Lounger, 2014 © John Currin

Nam June Paik, Nixon, 1965–2002 © Nam June Paik Estate

Panel Discussion

Cécile B. Evans, Haroon Mirza, and Stephen Vitiello on Nam June Paik

Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 6:30–8pm
Tate Modern, London
www.tate.org.uk

In conjunction with the exhibition Nam June Paik at Tate Modern, London, there will be a panel discussion to reflect on Paik’s continuing influence on art and culture today. Artists Cécile B. Evans, Haroon Mirza, and Stephen Vitiello will lead the discussion, and Sook-Kyung Lee, senior curator of international art at Tate, will moderate.

Nam June Paik, Nixon, 1965–2002 © Nam June Paik Estate

See all News for Nam June Paik

Museum Exhibitions

Nam June Paik, Internet Dream, 1994, installation view, Tate Modern, London © Estate of Nam June Paik

On View

Nam June Paik
The Future Is Now

Through October 11, 2020
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
www.stedelijk.nl

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 has traveled from the Tate Modern in London.

Nam June Paik, Internet Dream, 1994, installation view, Tate Modern, London © Estate of Nam June Paik

Installation view, Untitled, 2020, Punta della Dogana, Venice, March 22–December 13, 2020. Artwork © Thomas Houseago. Photo: Marco Cappelletti/DSL Studio

On View

Untitled, 2020

Through December 13, 2020
Punta della Dogana, Venice
www.palazzograssi.it

Conceived and curated by Thomas Houseago, Muna El Fituri, and Caroline Bourgeois, Untitled, 2020 places into dialogue works in a broad range of media by more than sixty artists held by the Pinault Collection, international museums, and private collections. The exhibition centers around a re-creation of Houseago’s studio in Tadao Ando’s cube room, in the heart of Punta della Dogana. Work by Ellen Gallagher, Duane Hanson, Mike Kelley, Henry Moore, and Nam June Paik is included.

Installation view, Untitled, 2020, Punta della Dogana, Venice, March 22–December 13, 2020. Artwork © Thomas Houseago. Photo: Marco Cappelletti/DSL Studio

Nam June Paik, TV Garden, 1974–77 © Estate of Nam June Paik

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Nam June Paik

October 17, 2019–February 9, 2020
Tate Modern, London
www.tate.org.uk

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.

Nam June Paik, TV Garden, 1974–77 © Estate of Nam June Paik

Nam June Paik, TV Cello, 1971 © Nam June Paik Estate

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The Body Electric

March 30–July 21, 2019
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
walkerart.org

In an age dominated by digital technology, The Body Electric explores themes of the real and the virtual, the organic and the artificial, moving from world to screen and back again. This exhibition presents work by an international and intergenerational group of artists who examine ways that photographic, televisual, and digital media change our perceptions of the human body and everyday life. Work by Bruce Nauman and Nam June Paik is included.

Nam June Paik, TV Cello, 1971 © Nam June Paik Estate

See all Museum Exhibitions for Nam June Paik

Press