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Being Political Popular: South Korean Art at the Intersection of Popular Culture and Democracy, 1980-2010

From the distributor’s website:

Many artworks from recent South Korean history are located in the nebulous but fertile contact zone between public/popular culture and democracy movements. Being Political Popular attempts a thematically focused and historically interventionist inquiry into the current status of South Korean contemporary art, exploring the work of 17 artists and art collectives.

Being Political Popular documents the complex lines of thinking that scholars such as Chang-nam Kim, Namhee Lee, and Wan-kyung Sung have nurtured on the topics of the popular music and resistant youth culture of the 1970s, the politics of minjung subjectivity during the 1980s democracy movement, and the 1980s minjung art movement. The book also includes artists’ writings and manifestos by Minouk Lim, mixrice, Hein-kuhn Oh, and Sangdom Kim–primary materials that provide the reader with a closer look at their art-making. It serves as a reader’s gateway to the recent history of South Korean visual arts and public culture, marking the beginning of a more nuanced and multifaceted investigation of the South Korean aesthetics of politics.

Table of Contents

Sohl Lee

  • Introduction: Between Minjung and Taejung
  1. Sites of Resistant Collectivity: Choi Byung-soo, Kim Dong-won, Labor News Collective, Park Jae-dong.
  2. Reenacting History: Kim Min-gi, Hong Sung-dam, Hein-kuhn Oh
  3. Between One and Many: siren eun young jung, mixrice, Minouk Lim
  4. Seoul Tour / Pyongyang Express: Chan-kyong Park, Seung Woo Back, listen to the city
  5. The Past is the Future: Park Bul-dong, Nam Gung Ho Seok
  6. Play to Fly: Sangdon Kim, Minari and Hack
  • A letter to the future of Korean Art

Minouk Lim

  • The (Im)Possibility of Art as Life

Namhee Lee

  • Minjung, History, and the Crisis of Historical Subjectivity

Chang-nam Kim

  • Kim Min-gi and the 1970s Korean Youth Culture

 Wan-kyung Sung

  • The Rise and Fall of Minjung Art

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* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.