Hong Seong-dam’s art in the news again

In 2012 his unflattering painting of President-elect Park got the ruling party annoyed; now Hong Seong-nam is in the news again for lampooning Park’s response to the Sewol disaster in an exhibition linked to the Gwangju Biennale.

Hong Song-nam: Sewol Owol
Hong Song-nam: Sewol Owol (detail) (image credit: Newsis / Newsvop)

It’s difficult to know precisely what has been going on in Gwangju from the snippets that make it into the English language news, but the Gwangju Foreign Language Network reported on 25 August that he had now voluntarily removed his work from the exhibition.

Previously, the City of Gwangju had asked him to amend his work – so he replaced his caricature of the President with a cartoon chicken.

Hong Song-nam: Sewol Owol undergoing an edit
Hong Song-nam: Sewol Owol undergoing an edit (image credit: Newsis / Newsvop)

In response, other artists partaking in the special exhibition removed their works from the exhibition and the executive curator, Yoon Beom-mo, resigned from his post, condemning the municipal censorship of the artworks submitted to the Gwangju Biennale.

Hong Seong-nam: Sewol Owol, after the edit
Hong Seong-nam: Sewol Owol, after the edit

The president of the Biennale, Lee Yong-woo, resigned over the incident, according to Artnet.

Choe Sang-hun has some of the backstory and more detail in the New York Times. Jeyup S Kwaak also has the story in the Wall Street Journal blog.

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