SOAS seminar: Rescuing Art History from the Nation CANCELLED

J.P. Park, author of A New Middle Kingdom: Painting and Cultural Politics in Late Chosŏn Korea (1700–1850), will be giving a talk at SOAS on 21 February as part of SOAS’s Friday evening seminar series:

Rescuing Art History from the Nation: Late Chosŏn Korea between Europe and Edo Japan

Prof J.P. Park (University of Oxford)
Friday 21 February 2020, 5:15 – 7:00 PM
Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: Alumni Lecture Theatre


For the past couple of decades, a growing number of historians of Korean art has investigated artistic connections between late Chosŏn Korea and Europe. By pointing out the acceptance of European painterly techniques such as one-point perspectives, chiaroscuro, camera obscura, repoussoir, and visual artifice taken up by late Chosŏn elites, recent scholarship has explained how and why early modern Korean artists were able to adopt and learn the new styles and programs of Western art, which were based upon a completely different pictorial tradition. This research path may itself not pose any analytical disparities, but it rides on a certain level of historical nuance: Even though late Chosŏn was known to be a period of high conservatism and isolation, the seeds of modernity and globalization were nonetheless explored and largely embraced by its artists and critics. But the unbiased and unprejudiced minds of late Chosŏn artists celebrated in modern scholarship have not been equally illuminated when it comes to their relationship to the Japanese art of the time. By introducing evidence that testifies to the late Chosŏn public’s active interest in Japanese art, this paper will point to the neglected exchange of art and ideas between early modern Korea and Japan, and expose how age-old academic conventions and nationalisms remain firmly fixed in the study of East Asian art history.

Speaker Biography

J.P.ParkJ.P. Park, formerly Associate Professor at the University of California and Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., holds the June and Simon Li Associate Professorship in the History of Chinese Art. Professor Park is a fellow of Lincoln College.

Professor Park’s research interests include early modern Chinese Art, artistic exchange between China, Japan, and Korea, and multi-culturalism in contemporary East Asian art. His most recent books include A New Middle Kingdom: Painting and Cultural Politics in Late Choson Korea (1700–1850) (University of Washington Press, 2018) and Art by the Book: Painting Manuals and the Leisure Life in Late Ming China (University of Washington Press, 2012).

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