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b. 1966, USA

Michael Joo Biography

Michael Joo’s artworks investigate concepts of identity and knowledge in a hybrid, contemporary world. An American artist of Korean descent, Joo’s artworks often blend and collide seemingly disparate elements; science and religion, nature versus human intervention, fact versus fiction, high and low culture and intention and accident are recurring themes in his work.  Using a thoughtful and provocative range of materials and media Joo juxtaposes humanity’s various states of knowledge and culture, addressing the fluid nature of identity itself, and prompting us to question how and why we perceive the world as we do.  In performance/video works, he has swam through a ton of MSG, waited in the wild for elk to lick salt off of his body, and walked against the flow of crude oil along the Trans Alaskan Pipeline.

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Buddhism is a recurring subject in his Joo’s art. In the work Visible, the seated, transparent  sculpture of a headless Buddha reveals its skeleton and internal organs pitting empirical against metaphysical viewpoints.  In Joo’s Bodhi Obfuscatus (Space Baby) the artist scrutinizes and dissects the visage of a third-century B.C. Gandharan Buddha from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection using live surveillance cameras; evoking thoughts of simultaneity in the cosmic and earthbound; past and present; collective and individual.

Select solo and group exhibitions include: the Menil Collection, Texas; Serpentine Gallery, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.; Rodin Gallery (Samsung Foundation), Seoul; and MIT’s List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts. In 2001 Joo represented Korea at the Venice Biennale, and Bodhi Obfuscatus (Space Baby) won grand prize at the 2006 Gwangju Biennial.  Select collections include: Guggenheim Museum, N.Y.; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.; and the Samsung Foundation for Art and Culture, Seoul.

Michael Joo Featured Artworks

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Untitled 2 (Single Breath Transfer) by Michael Joo contemporary artwork
Michael JooUntitled 2 (Single Breath Transfer), 2018–2019Mould-blown glass
43.2 x 20.3 x 19.1 cm
Kavi Gupta Contact Gallery
Untitled 3 (Single Breath Transfer) by Michael Joo contemporary artwork
Michael JooUntitled 3 (Single Breath Transfer), 2018–2019Mould-blown glass
40 x 27.9 x 25.4 cm
Kavi Gupta Contact Gallery
Untitled 5 (Single Breath Transfer) by Michael Joo contemporary artwork
Michael JooUntitled 5 (Single Breath Transfer), 2018–2019Mould-blown glass
47.2 x 20.3 x 15.2 cm
Kavi Gupta Contact Gallery
From Without by Michael Joo contemporary artwork
Michael JooFrom Without, 2020ABS 3D print
38.1 x 58.4 x 45.7 cm
Kavi Gupta Contact Gallery
All One Thing by Michael Joo contemporary artwork
Michael JooAll One Thing, 2020Plastic 3D print
27.9 x 38.1 x 25.4 cm
Kavi Gupta Contact Gallery
Threshold (Preliminal) by Michael Joo contemporary artwork
Michael JooThreshold (Preliminal), 2020Silver-mirrored borosilicate glass, bamboo temple ladle
170 x 70 x 125 cm
Para Site
Liminus (West Landing 2) by Michael Joo contemporary artwork
Michael JooLiminus (West Landing 2), 2017Silver nitrate and epoxy ink on canvas
158 x 122 cm
Kukje Gallery Contact Gallery
H O R S E by Michael Joo contemporary artwork
Michael JooH O R S E, 2017Silver nitrate and epoxy on canvas
157.5 x 117 cm
Kukje Gallery Contact Gallery

Michael Joo Recent Exhibitions

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Michael Joo Represented By

Kavi Gupta contemporary art gallery in Washington Blvd, Chicago, USA Kavi Gupta Chicago
Kukje Gallery contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea Kukje Gallery Busan, Seoul

Michael Joo In Ocula Magazine

Michael Joo In Related Press

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See the Majestic Displays at India’s First Contemporary Sculpture Park Related Press See the Majestic Displays at India’s First Contemporary Sculpture Park 5 September 2019, Hyperallergic

India's first-ever contemporary sculpture park has launched its second edition. The not-for-profit project, inaugurated in December 2017, transformed the Madhavendra Palace in Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur, into an expansive sculpture gallery. The sculptures are displayed throughout the majestic rooms and grand courtyards of the 18th-century fortress...

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Last days to see 'Naturalia,' an homage to natural history, at Paul Kasmin Gallery Related Press Last days to see 'Naturalia,' an homage to natural history, at Paul Kasmin Gallery 2 March 2017, Whitewall

Until March 4, you can wander between Paul Kasmin Gallery's two Chelsea locations, and through 600 years of natural history brought to life through woodcuts, sculptures, paintings, projections, dioramas, and time-lapse video. Curated by Danny Moynihan, Naturalia is a fresh take on art history.

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'Barrier Island': Michael Joo explores Sapelo Island, a tribute and memorial to its slave past Related Press 'Barrier Island': Michael Joo explores Sapelo Island, a tribute and memorial to its slave past 24 January 2017, ARTNews

Looking much like a re-created ruin, Michael Joo’s pensive and beautiful exhibition Barrier Island, at the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art, is, in some ways, just that. Based on an extended investigation of Sapelo Island, located off the coast of Georgia, it is another of the artist’s meditations on place—in this case, habitats...

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Public art invades Anyang Related Press Public art invades Anyang 27 October 2016, The Korea Times

Among commercials screened at Anyang Station on Seoul Metro Line 1 is a video featuring Anyang citizens playing American rock band Guns N' Roses' Paradise City. This is video artist Park Bo-na's Paradise City, which aims to connect the past and present of Anyang with its future as a part of the city's efforts to encourage public...

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