by Jeremy Hatch
Tonight at 8:00, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will open their new exhibition, transPOP: Korea Vietnam Remix, with a big party involving Campari cocktails and Thomas’ Apartment, the LA-based-Vietnamese-American-alterna-rock phenom.
That’s a lot of hypens, I know, but it’s entirely appropriate for this exhibition. Just look at the title. First: “trans,” which means transcendent, in several senses but most of all transnational; and “POP,” which refers both to pop culture and Pop Art. The second half of the name, “Korea Vietnam Remix,” alludes to the 16 featured artists — all of whom are from Vietnam, Korea, or their respective communities in the United States — and their works, which explore the historic and current relationships between the three countries in terms of pop culture and using Pop Art strategies.
That three-way relationship has been fraught at times and friendly at others. The countries are relatively far apart on the Asian continent, but they were brought together by their common invader, the United States. The Vietnam War opened a path for tens of thousands of Koreans to come to Vietnam — a diaspora that paved the way for Vietnam’s “Korean Wave” in popular culture during the ensuing peace. The works themselves employ a wide range of techniques and media, from paint to digital video and everything in between.
The curators are Viet Le, who is an independent artist and curator, and Yong Soon Min, who is an associate professor in the Studio Art department at UC Irvine. The works were previously shown in Seoul, South Korea and at Irvine.
If you come to the party tonight, admission is free for members and $15 to the general public. If you can’t, though, never fear: the works will be on display until March 15. For further insight, you might want to check out this review of the show in Modern Painters and this review of its Irvine iteration.
Image: from Xavier Collection, Courtesy of Goethe Institut