Sunday, July 4, 2010

Busan Museum of Modern Art: What is Art?

Yesterday, a friend of mine from my first year of college got to Busan.  It was so strange to think about how different things were 6 years ago.  He used to be one of my favorite people to sit next to in discrete mathematics and then linear algebra--mainly because his pockets were always stocked with gum and had no problem sharing his mid class snack with hungry 'ol me. I think he liked to sit next to me because I tended to draw cartoons and play strange word games with myself in the margins of my notes when I got bored. Sophomore year he transferred and we lost touch.  This year we are in the city, half way around the globe from where we started and he is dating one of my friends from university when I was in Paris.

It's a small, strange world. Anyways, all future mentions of Shoesy refer to this guy. 

We met up at the Busan Museum of Modern art which had a really interesting exhibit on modern Japanese, Chinese and (a smattering of) Korean artists.  Some of it was derivative but most of it was intriguing and definitely worth visiting.  A Korean surrealist, Lee In-hee, had this absolutely mind-blowing installation set up where you walked down this narrow, dimly lit hall with dark purple 'wall paper' and the sound of the wind blowing. There is a single light fixture illuminating the corner just enough to throw creepy shadows and then you turn the corner and see a framed screen where the wind is blowing through a field. In front of it is a desk, lamp and fish--all covered in this bizarrely British plaid and then there are a few more of the plaid fish half in the wall, as if they were jumping toward and away from the desk and were frozen the moment you turned the corner to see what was going on. There were a few other paintings by the same artist that were also interesting. It was reminiscent of the surrealism that Dali spearheaded and yet it felt fresh, modern and utterly unique.

I had a lot of fun talking about art with Shoesy who brought up the question 'what is art' in front of a stark panoramic photo of the museums surrounding Tiannamen Square.  A common, age old question, and yet it provoked interesting discussion about what we liked and didn't like about the artwork and more importantly, why.  Anyways, Cragon, Shoesy and I had a blast. Surprisingly there was information about the exhibit and a little about the museum available in English. Maybe they read the complaints about the dearth of English language information pamphlets for the Monet to Picasso exhibit.

Since Shoesy is a newbie we should have brought him to a traditional Korean restaurant...instead we hit the food court in the basement of Shinsegae around the corner for gyros. Whatever, sometimes a girl has got to have her Turkish. 

On the way to Shinsegae we passed the Busan comic convention. It was hilarious.

Random life in Korea update:
I hate buying pads in Korea because 90% of the time the sales assistant hovers and tries to help you pick out a brand.  I braved it today and unfortunately there was some sort of promotional deal. So not only did the woman completely ignore my pleas (in Korean) of 'really, it's okay' she pointed out things on various packages until finally I just grabbed one and tried to flee the premises. No such luck. She asked me to wait a moment and then got me a free pad sample of another type and a bright yellow, plastic Shrek mug. What does promoting Shrek have to do with my monthly cycle I will never understand. 


Nancy K said...

Great post. But, what were all the girls in costume about?

Alex said...

I have no idea. I think they were imitating anime characters...

Rachel S said...

Adam has gone to both Anime and comic conventions (actually we went with him to a comic convention in Charlotte). From his pictures of the Anime conventions, I can tell that they are dressing up as their favorite characters. It is amazing how much work they put into their costumes.

Chris Bolster said...


Alex said...

I couldn't think of a pseudonym for you and your dressy shoes looked very silly with your orange board shorts so you became shoesy! You are free to think of your own pseudonym and I promise to change it.