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b. 1966, United States

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