Seoul, b.1973

Mina Cheon

Mina Cheon (PhD, MFA) is a Korean-American global new media artist, scholar, and educator who divides her time between Korea and the United States. Cheon has exhibited her political pop art known as “Polipop” internationally and draws inspiration from global media and popular culture to produce work that intersects politics and pop art in subversive and provocative ways. In particular, Cheon has worked on North Korean awareness and global peace projects since 2004 and appeared to the world as a North Korean artist KIM IL SOON since 2013. While she creates work that range in medium from new media, video, installation, performance, and public projects to traditional media of painting and sculptures, the content of the work is in historic alignment to appropriation art and global activism art.

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Biography

Mina Cheon (PhD, MFA) is a Korean-American global new media artist, scholar, and educator who divides her time between Korea and the United States. Cheon has exhibited her political pop art known as “Polipop” internationally and draws inspiration from global media and popular culture to produce work that intersects politics and pop art in subversive and provocative ways. In particular, Cheon has worked on North Korean awareness and global peace projects since 2004 and appeared to the world as a North Korean artist KIM IL SOON since 2013. While she creates work that range in medium from new media, video, installation, performance, and public projects to traditional media of painting and sculptures, the content of the work is in historic alignment to appropriation art and global activism art.

Just as the Korean peninsula is split, so is its contemporary artistic consciousness. Mina Cheon is a South Korean artist who collaborates with her North Korean alter-ego KIM IL SOON (a Socialist Realist painter, naval commander, farmer, scholar, teacher, mother, and human being). In this, the latest of Cheon’s grapplings with the Korean schizo-imaginary, the topics of art, motherhood, games and hope come together in a reflection upon (cult)ure, love and education.

Cheon has worked with underground networks to send hundreds of USB drives containing performance lectures on contemporary art history into North Korea – arguably the first such artistic ‘re-programming’ engagement with the nation to date. The Art History Lessons by Professor Kim (2017) endeavor to be relatable for North Korean and American audiences – borrowing from children’s TV show formats while showcasing today’s contemporary artists and critical perspectives. Carrying the vital messages “The world loves you, North Korea” and “Both art and lives matter”

Mina Cheon lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.

Artworks

3

Global Peace Shoes, 2018

RELATED CATEGORIES

Contemporary History / Digital Print on Canvas / Global Peace Project / Historical Approach / History / Installation / Korean Peninsular / Korean-American / National History / New Media / Painting / Peace / Performance / Political Issues / Pop Art / Popular Culture / Propaganda Image / Public Project / Seoul / Social Reality / United States / Video

CURRICULUM VITAE

Education

  • 2008

    PhD, Philosophy of Media and Communications, European Graduate School (EGS), European University for Interdisciplinary Studies (EUFIS), Saas-Fee, Wallis, Switzerland

  • 2005

    PhD course work transferred to EGS from Maryland Institute of Technology in the Humanities (MITH)

  • Doctoral Fellow, Theatre History and Performance Studies, University of Maryland, College Park

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2018

    Mina Cheon aka Kim Il Soon: Dreaming North Korean Painting, Noyes Museum of Art, Stockton University, Atlantic City, NJ

  • Solo exhibition, Ethan Cohen KuBe, Beacon, NY

  • 2017

    UMMA: MASS GAMES – Motherly Love North Korea, Ethan Cohen Gallery, New York, October-December 2017

Group Exhibitions

  • 2019

    Fears of Art, Ethan Cohen Gallery, New York

  • 2018

    Busan Biennale 2018, Divided We Stand, theme on divided territories, Museum of Contemporary Art Busan and former Bank of Korea building, Busan, Korea

  • Figuration, Baltimore Museum of Art, Contemporary Wing

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Curriculum Vitae

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Education

  • 2008

    PhD, Philosophy of Media and Communications, European Graduate School (EGS), European University for Interdisciplinary Studies (EUFIS), Saas-Fee, Wallis, Switzerland

  • 2005

    PhD course work transferred to EGS from Maryland Institute of Technology in the Humanities (MITH)

  • Doctoral Fellow, Theatre History and Performance Studies, University of Maryland, College Park

  • 2002

    MFA, Imaging & Digital Arts, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2018

    Mina Cheon aka Kim Il Soon: Dreaming North Korean Painting, Noyes Museum of Art, Stockton University, Atlantic City, NJ

  • Solo exhibition, Ethan Cohen KuBe, Beacon, NY

  • 2017

    UMMA: MASS GAMES – Motherly Love North Korea, Ethan Cohen Gallery, New York, October-December 2017

  • 2016

    Inaugural artist for RE/PUBLIC, architecture firm with a gallery invites Mina Cheon, February 4 – April 20.

  • 2014

    Happy North Korean Children, The Trunk Gallery, Seoul, Korea. June 26 – July 29.

  • Choco·Pie Propaganda: From North Korea with Love, Ethan Cohen New York Gallery, New York. January 23 – March 1.

  • 2013

    Polipop and Paperdolls, The Trunk Gallery, Seoul, Korea

  • 2012

    Polipop and Paintings, Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Polipop, The Sungkok Art Museum, Seoul, Korea

  • 2008

    Addressing Dolls, C. Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland

  • 2005

    Dizz/placement, Insa Art Space, Arts Council, Korean Culture and Arts Foundation (KCAF), Seoul, Korea

  • 2002

    Groundless, Lance Fung Gallery, New York, New York

  • 2000

    The Web, for Fall Solos 2000, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, Virginia

Group Exhibitions

  • 2019

    Fears of Art, Ethan Cohen Gallery, New York

  • 2018

    Busan Biennale 2018, Divided We Stand, theme on divided territories, Museum of Contemporary Art Busan and former Bank of Korea building, Busan, Korea

  • Figuration, Baltimore Museum of Art, Contemporary Wing

  • Modern Images of the Body from East Asia, curated by Yao Wu, Smith College Museum of Art, Smith College, Northampton, MA

  • 2017

    Art Remixed, Ethan Cohen New York, New York, NY

  • Red Attack, Ethan Cohen New York, New York, NY

  • Art Miami 2017, Ethan Cohen New York, Miami, FL

  • Your Hand My Heart, Simon Gallert, Seoul, Korea

  • 2016

    Light City Baltimore, art commission from the Mayor’s Office and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, for “Diamonds Light Baltimore,” in collaboration with architect Gabriel Kroiz, to install 15 diamond shaped LED light sculpture installed at Pier Five during Light City festival, Spring 2016.

  • 2015

    Face to Face, curated by Ethan Cohen, Ethan Cohen New York gallery, NY, September 10 – October 24.

  • 2014

    Double Mirror: Korean-American Artists, curated by Iris Inhee Moon, American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington DC, April 1 – June 1. Includes Eat Choco·Pie Together installation and Kim Il Soon paintings Happy North Korean Little Boy and Happy North Korean Little Girl.

  • 2013

    “Korean-American New York Film Festival’s visual arts exhibition,” at Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Art Gallery, artistic director Susie Lim, curated by Hyejung Jang, New York, NY, October 15 – October 31. Includes Dokdo, video installation, piece extended with collaboration on sculptural installation with Nara Park.

  • Sharper Image: Part II, artSTRAND, Provincetown, Massachusetts

  • Turn On, Kunsthalle Beacon (KuBe), Beacon, New York

  • Sharper Image, Ethan Cohen New York, New York

  • Movement and Kinetic Art, Seoul Olympic Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea

  • PULSE, Ethan Cohen New York, New York, New York

  • 2012

    Art Asia Art Fiar, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, Miami, Florida

  • (e)merge Art Fair Group Exhibition, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, Washington DC

  • Body as Monument, curated by Adejoke Tugbiyele, artists Mina Cheon, Steven Singer, Dominic Terlizzi, Tyrone Geter, Toym Imao, and Yerin Kim, Creative Alliance, Amalie Rothschild Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland

  • 2010

    Athena’s Daughter, group exhibition honoring Grace Haritgan, Maryland Art Place sponsored, Ritz Carlton, Baltimore, MD

  • Desirable Fantasies: Between Fantasy and Reality, Korus House, The Korean Embassy in US, curator Jeon Jeong-ok, Project Andini initiative, group exhibition with Cheon, Hye Rim Lee, Gilbert Trent, Satomi Shirai, Washington DC.

  • 2009

    BWI, International Pier, Group exhibition, MICA faculty, students and alumni show

  • The Art in Embassy Program, group exhibition of Korean-American artists including Mina Cheon, Nam June Paik, Byron Kim, Doho Suh, and Nikki Lee, American Embassy in Seoul, Korea.

  • 2007

    New Legacies and Living Icons, curated by Leslie King-Hammond, James Backas Gallery, Maryland States Arts Council, Baltimore, Maryland

  • 2005

    media in’f’ – 5th EMAP: Ewha Media Art Presentation, section “Looped in America,” curated by Inhee Iris Moon, Ewha Art Center, Ewha Women’s University, Seoul, Korea.

  • EVR(e-flux video rental), started in New York by Anton Vidokle and Julieta Aranda, Miami, Frankfurt, Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Seoul, Korea The 6th Open Studio Exhibition, SSamzie Space, Alternative Art Space, Seoul, Korea

  • Packed Unpacked2: Alice in My Heart, collected work at the 2nd Ssamzie Collection Exhibition, SSamzie Art Warehouse / Museum, Heyri Art Valley, Paju, Korea

  • 2004

    Athena’s Daughters, curated by Grace Hartigan, Maryland Art Place

  • 2003

    From My Finger---Living in the Technological Age, curated by Elsa Chen, organized by Women's Art Association in Taiwan, First International Women’s Festival in Taiwan, Kaohsiung Museum of Art, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

  • 2002

    Self Portraiture, curated by Stefano Pasquini, Art Space Sesto Senso, Bologna, Italy

  • 2001

    Floor, curated by Gary Kachadurion, Artscape, Decker Gallery, Station Bld., MICA

  • Installation Space Janine Antoni, juried by Janine Antoni, School 33 Art Center, Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Art and Culture, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Video Screening, organized by Mark Rance, curated by Amie Seigel, L.A. Film Forum, Los Angeles, California

  • New Vision-Digital Art Network, Techno Mart, Info Art Korea, Korean Information and Cultural Center, Seoul, Korea

  • 2000

    PIX, selected by Larry Miller, curated by Lance Fung, Emily Harvey / Lance Fung Gallery New York, New York

  • Entropy: Arrow of Time, part of "The Flow of New Tendencies in Korean Art," curated by Kim HeyKyong, Fine Arts Center of Korean Culture and Arts Foundation, Seoul, Korea.

  • Video Art 2000, The Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, Maryland

Projects

  • 2018

    UMMA’s Cleaning Lesson II, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA (Performance)

  • 2017

    UMMA’s Cleaning Lesson, Ethan Cohen Gallery, New York, NY (Performance)

  • 2014

    Mina Cheon aka Kim Il Soon, series of performance and recitation including “55 Special Ways of Saying Dear Leader in North Korea, “Choco-Pie Propaganda, Ethan Cohen Gallery, New York, NY (Performance)

  • 2013

    Mina Cheon aka Kim Il Soon, DPRK Polipop campaigns “Squirt Water Not Bullets” and “Make Art Not Weapons” at Ethan Cohen New York at Pulse NY Art Fair, Metropolitan Pavilion, New York (Performance)

  • 2012

    The Post Reality Show: TALK MEDIA! Hosted by Randall Packer Broadcast via Livestream, Weeknights 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm EDT, July 16 – 27, 2012 during the 7th Annual Capital Fringe Festival, Washington DC. Includes interviews with guest artists Mina Cheon, Elahi Hasan, Jeff Gabes, Philippa Hughes, Melissa Ichiuji, Ken Jordan, Lisa Moren, Mariso Olson, Helen Thorington, and others (Performance)

  • “Polipop Switch News,” for public television SWITCH, Emily Harvey Foundation, performance series includes Jessica Higgins and Gema Alava, Bibbe Hansen and Sean Carrillo, Alison Knowles, Larry Miller, Mina Cheon, Jaime Davidovich, and Joshua Selman. Switch Producer Denis~Luzuriaga Luzuriaga, Creative Director Jessica Higgins. (Performance)

  • 2009

    Performance artist, participant to Danish Fluxus Artist Eric Andersen’s performance piece, “This is Not This,” with Fluxus artist Larry Miller, Julia Robinson. Curator of Live Action Jonas Stampe, Live Action New York, Scandinavian House, New York, New York. (Performance)

Grants & Awards

  • 2016

    Light City Baltimore, art commission from the Mayor’s Office and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, for “Diamonds Light Baltimore,” in collaboration with architect Gabriel Kroiz, to install 15 diamond shaped LED light sculpture installed at Pier Five during Light City festival, Spring 2016.

  • Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant for Painting as Kim Il Soon, on North Korean painting series.

  • MICA Faculty Research Grant on projects related to North Korea, research done in Seoul libraries on North Korean publications, and production of artwork done in K-Town Studios in Baltimore for next solo exhibition.

  • 2014

    Photo It artist, archival print support for “Happy North Korean Children” exhibition at Trunk Gallery, Seoul, Korea. Includes a feature published in Photo Dot cultural magazine, July issue, Seoul, Korea.

  • 2013

    18 Best Korean Artists of 2012 Sovereign Asian Art Prize Hong Kong, nominator Hyunjin Kim, exhibition and charity auction at Seoul Auction, Seoul, Korea, March 14-20.

  • 2011

    "One to Watch" selected by Leslie King-Hammond, ArtTable: The Leadership Organization for Professional Women in the Visual Arts, 30th Anniversary Gala Benefit, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, April 15

  • 2010

    MLK Unity Week Award for diversity efforts on campus and beyond, Falvey Hall, Brown Center, MICA, Baltimore, MD, January 20. Includes a keynote address “On Racism” dedicated to Flores McGarrell.

  • 2009

    Research Initiation Grant, MICA, cultural comparative research between Korean and Japanese popular culture, specifically “Kenkanryu: The Korea Hate Wave” that deals with the subject of images of hatred and racism in popular culture of Asia tied to global media.

  • 2008

    European Graduate School (EGS) awarding publication of Shamanism and Cyberspace, Atropos Press: Publisher of Thinking, Dresden and New York.

Collections

  • Baltimore Museum of Art, MD

  • Kathleen Stephens Collection, Pacific Century Institute, CA

  • Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA

  • Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD

  • Sungkok Art Museum, Seoul, Korea

  • SSamzie Art Collection, Heyri Art Valley, Paju, Korea

  • Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia

  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library Video Collection, Smithsonian, Washington, DC