Korea Society Gallery

Edification value
Entertainment value
Should you go?
Time spent 7 minutes
Best thing I saw or learned “Lonely Heart,” by Hyong Nam Ahn, a wireframe of a bent-over person with neon blasting through and all around him. 

I’m not sure why the Korea Society has a gallery space, but I have two theories.

  • The Korea Society had two lightless cheerless spaces that they didn’t want to use for offices or conference rooms and thought, “well what the heck let’s throw some gallery space in there.”  Or
  • The Japan Society has gallery space (in fact great gallery space) so the Korea Society had to have some too.

Oh, or I just thought of one more:

  • A corporate benefactor wanted to give them some money for a gallery and they needed a space or they wouldn’t get the money so they needed to do whatever they could. No matter how bad it is.

Whatever the explanation, the gallery space the Korea Society ended up with is too small to do much of anything with it. And as I said before it is lightless and charmless and I can’t imagine any art that would be well served by being there.  

I want to make it clear that this is in no way an indictment of the Korea Society.  I’m reviewing places as museums, not as institutions more broadly. If you want to learn Korean, I bet the Korea Society is an awesome place to do it. By all means go to a lecture or an event there. But it’s not a good space for art.

The current show consists of four pieces of large neon and steel sculpture by Hyong Nam Ahn sort of jammed into two rooms. One of them worked okay in its space, the others didn’t.

Reference:  The Korea Society