In the Tower: Nam June Paik

March 13 – October 2, 2011

East Building Tower


Overview: Nam June Paik (1932–2006) is a towering figure in contemporary art. Born in Korea and trained in Japan and Germany in aesthetics and music, Paik settled in New York in 1964 and quickly became a pioneer in the integration of art with technology and performance. The exhibition features a selection from Paik's estate as well as from the Gallery's own collection. The centerpiece is One Candle, Candle Projection (1988–2000), one of the artist's simplest, most dynamic works. Each morning a candle is lit and a video camera follows its progress, casting its flickering, magnified, processed image onto the walls in myriad projections. Two other closed-circuit works share the main gallery—one involving eggs, the other a bronze Buddha.

The adjoining room features works on paper and a short film about the artist. The exhibition also highlights an important new acquisition: Untitled (Red Hand), 1967, gift of the Hakuta Family, which includes a 19th-century Japanese scroll, a flashing bulb, and the artist's handprint. Here—as in so much of Paik's work—tradition and technology, elegance and humor, meditation and irreverence, come together in surprising harmony.

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art.

Sponsor: The exhibition is made possible by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.

Image: Installation view of In the Tower: Nam June Paik, Photo by Rob Shelley © 2011 National Gallery of Art, Washington


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