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Distributed for Reaktion Books

Korean Art from the 19th Century to the Present

Walk the galleries of any major contemporary art museum and you are sure to see a work by a Korean artist. Interest in modern and contemporary art from South—as well as North—Korea has grown in recent decades, and museums and individual collectors have been eager to tap into this rising market. But few books have helped us understand Korean art and its significance in the art world, and even fewer have told the story of the formation of Korea’s contemporary cultural scene and the role artists have played in it. This richly illustrated history tackles these issues, exploring Korean art from the late-nineteenth century to the present day—a period that has seen enormous political, social, and economic change.

Charlotte Horlyck covers the critical and revolutionary period that stretches from Korean artists’ first encounters with oil paintings in the late nineteenth century to the varied and vibrant creative outputs of the twenty-first. She explores artists’ interpretations of new and traditional art forms ranging from oil and ink paintings to video art, multi-media installations, ready-mades, and performance art, showing how artists at every turn have questioned the role of art and artists within society. Opening up this fascinating world to general audiences, this book will appeal to anyone wanting to explore this rich and fascinating era in Korea’s cultural history.

256 pages | 130 color plates, 20 halftones | 7 1/2 x 9 3/4 | © 2017

Art: Middle Eastern, African, and Asian Art

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"A compelling look at the history of Korean art and the events that shaped it. . . . Profusely illustrated."

ARLIS/NA Reviews

"The willingness to explore and to challenge conventions has continued among South Korean artists, who now make a vibrant contribution to the international art scene. Horlyck is good at placing these developments within their social and political context. . . . [This book] offers a rounded assessment of developments from a Western perspective."

Asian Affairs

"This rigorously researched volume thoroughly fleshes out the historical, social, and political landscape that fostered the creation of art in Korea over the last hundred years. . . . This book is a welcome addition to the few publications on the subject, as Horlyck develops a full art-historical picture of Korea in the twentieth century. The illustrations are good quality and varied, the glossary of Korean terms and artists is second-to-none, and the bibliography is equally rich. Current scholarship on speci­fic artists and interpretations of certain movements or practices are discussed and in stopping short of expressing her own opinions, Horlyck neatly avoids viewing the art of Korea through a 'Western lens.'"

Burlington Magazine

"Korean Art from the 19th Century to the Present is one of the most significant and most accessible surveys of Korean art to date. It is a bonus that the volume has a rich collection of photographs including rare images. The volume is a fascinating book that surveys Korean modern and contemporary art, focusing on carefully selected events, artworks, and artists closely related to the massive social, political, and economic changes in Korea pre-, during, and post-colonialization; the division of the nation; and the consequent modernization of the South."

European Journal of Korean Studies

“The book provides a fascinating insight into the greatest century of political, social, and cultural change in the history of Korea, the focus of artistic as well as military confrontation between East and West.”

Keith Pratt, Durham University

“This book covers over 100 years of Korean modern art in one flow by explaining each period’s art scenes with well-documented information. It suggests the inseparable relationship between art and politics under the dynamically changing social context in and out of Korea.”

Jungsil Jenny Lee, University of Kansas

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