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Transnational Approach toward Street and Mail Art Events in Japan and South Korea: 
The Ginbuart, Shinjuku Shonen Art and Jindalrae’s Bone


The paper will focus on Ginbuart(ザ・ギンブラート)(1993) and Sinjuku Shonen Art(新宿少年アート)(1994), two important artistic events organized by “the 1965 generation” in Japan, followed by Bone(1998), a mail/street art event organized by a Korean designer’s collective in the late 1990s. In Japan, the group called “the 1965 generation” includes Takashi Murakami, Tsuyoshi Ozawa, and Masato Nakamura, who emerged as the most powerful group of artists rebelling against the existing philosophical definition of fine arts imported from the western art world; similarly the collective “Jindalrae” from South Korea became famous for its critical approach toward the binary between fine arts and graphic design by randomly mailing their poster-arts to the public and encouraging people to install these posters on the street. The paper will take a transnational approach toward these three significant historical exhibitions in Japan and Korea with the aim of observing both similarities and differences in expanding the notion of fine arts, especially during the 1990s, when the younger generation of artists began to question critical and institutional frameworks of contemporary arts in Japan and Korea. As I will argue, these historic exhibitions paved the path towards the birth of alternative art spaces and strategies influenced by the street and subculture of both Japan and South Korea. Moreover, these parallel artistic events call attention to grassroots and postcolonial approaches to the notion of fine arts in East Asian contemporary arts. 


* Presented at AAS, Regional Meeting at June 25-26, 2017, Korea University, Seoul

Panel: State, Market, and Streets: Exhibiting East Asian Contemporary Arts

Exhibiting art is not only a range of professional practices, but also a statement fraught with metaphorical and ideological meanings formed, nurtured, and disseminated in specific political, economic, and socio-cultural contexts. It is an event grounded on artistic, political, and social involvements. As the concepts and forms of art have been dramatically transformed by the geopolitical changes and globalization since the mid-20thcentury, themedia, the formats, and the approaches to exhibitart underwent fundamental reformations aswell. This panel brings in case studie s of art exhibited in state sponsored museums, free market, and local streets in contemporary China, South Korea, and Japan. State, Market, and Streets: Exhibiting East Asian Contemporary Arts examines the dynamic roles the established institutions and alternative exhibition spaces played in shaping and defining contemporary East Asian art.

© 2018. Koh, Dong-Yeon

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