Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 11, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page 10

Mountain View News Saturday, February 11, 2023 


Currently at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, there is a profound 
exhibition on view called “The Space Between: The Modern in Korean 
Art.” I had the opportuntity to read the book that accompanies the 
exhibition, a thick, exquisitely-illustrated publication of over 300 pages, 
also called “The Space Between,” which summarizes the exhibition, and, 
in my opinion, is a “must-read” in order to grasp the full depth of this 


Finally, at the invite of a museum employee, I managed to get to LACMA to see the exhibition 
for myself, assuming I would learn some new details about art. By some great fate, 
Dr. Virginia Moon, the curator of this exhibition, was there conducting a short private 
tour of the exhibition, and I was graciously allowed to join. 


A very special sibling pair, age 10 months! 
Two little look-alike love bugs, one with a 
pink nose, Hawthorn, and the other with 
a black nose, Juniper. Born together, and 
are so bonded that they must stay together. 
Both are loving and playful. They love 
to snuggle together and groom each other. 
Hawthorn has a condition called CH, or 
cerebellar hypoplasia, which causes some jerky movements, but he is 
purr-fectly healthy. Both are just the sweetest, cuddliest, friendliest 

kitties ever! What more can you want? Adopt in time for Valentine’s Day—they’re way better than 

candy & flowers!

 See more pictures and their video on our website’s Teen Cats page, at 

 “The Space Between: The Modern in Korean Art” at LACMA includes 130 works of art, 
and is open through Feb. 20. The exhibition documents the development of modern art 
in Korea between 1897 and 1965. This was a tumultuous period that included the country’s 
colonization by Japan, the resulting influx of Western culture and technology, and 
the Korean War, which tore the nation in two. 

This exhibition is about so much more than “art.” For me, Dr. Moon’s depth of knowledge 
of the history and cultural influences during the periods of the exhibition brought 
this history of Korea alive and living in a way that I had never experienced before in an 
“art exhibition.” Indeed, Dr. Moon’s humor, objectivity, and deep insight into the intimate 
details of both the artists and times, provided a broad perspective of life, history, 
interaction with outsiders, and a vision into what life might have been like in the period 

The Space Between explores the development of the concept of the modern in Korean 
art in five sections. The first section, "The Modern Encounter," sets the stage with the 
introduction of Western modes of life and photography during the Korean Empire (18971910). 
The second section, "The Modern Response," explores artists' reactions to these 
changes within the challenging backdrop of the Japanese colonial period (1910-45). The 
third section, "The Modern Momentum," displays the deepening of artists' understanding 
of and engagement with Western artistic concepts and techniques as Korea emerged 
from the colonial period only to become mired in the Korean War five years later. The 
fourth section, "The Pageantry of the New Woman," highlights the newly constructed 
perceptions of the modern woman in a rapidly changing society. Finally, the last section, 
"Evolving into the Contemporary," offers a peek into the transition of Korean art into the 
contemporary period, in which artists continue to grapple with many of the same issues 
that emerged in the previous decades. 

When this microcosmic art exhibition’s significance is grasped, one gains a macroscopic 
view of not just Korea and what was happening there during this period, but a bigger 
picture of the world at large, and how artists have always struggled to express what was 
occurring. Many of the pieces in this exhibition have never been seen outside of Korea.
Dr. Moon began by showing how the technology of photography began to _change art, 
when artists drew portraits from photos, not live subjects. In the very beginning of the 
exhibit, we see a 1907 photograph of Emperor Gojong, and we also see a very different 
image drawn by an artist. Photography also allowed portraits of women to be created for 
the very first time, providing a way for artists to paint women as their subjects without 
risking the “indecency” of an unmarried man and woman to share a private space. 

The exhibition moves to how Korean artists began to draw the human body. Nudes were 
an academically recognized subject in European art schools and painting tradition, so 
this became a subject that Korean artists encountered and then began to learn to work 
with in Japan, as part of their academic training. Women are included in the art, and 
many of the artists featured were women. 

Dr. Moon also explained some of the seemingly-mundane (and touchingly human) aspects 
of some of the pieces, such as ink paintings that became unusually large, as a way of 
quickly garnering attention in the newly established annual art exhibitions, which were 
hung in salon-style and often determined the success of an artist's career. 

We stopped at a particularly noteworthy piece by Kim Whanki called “Jars and Women.” 
Dr. Moon pointed out that the casual observer will simply note that it is pretty and reminiscent 
of Picasso. Kim studied art in Japan, and was met with the Korean war upon his 
return. He ended up spending three years in refuge in Busan, where he produced this 
work. When you study the piece, it shows refugee tents, and _the women carrying jars is 
Kim’s commentary on the effects of war. Be sure to read all the notes when you visit the 
exhibition. There is more to each piece than initially meets the eye.

 There are art pieces that represent the short-lived cultural moment known as Sinyeoseong, 
or “New Woman.” According to Dr. Virginia Moon, Sinyeoseong represented 
a “minor fluttering” of feminist sentiment that emerged in the 1910s. She points out that 
Sinyeoseong was created and promoted largely by men. “It was the men who are thinking, 
‘How can we utilize women in order to help modernize the country?’” says Moon. The 
movement had its limitations: In the early 20th century, Korean women were encouraged 
to pursue an education, but only so they could better raise and instruct their children. “It 
wasn’t this major movement that rocked everybody’s world,” says Moon. But it did create 
an opening for individual women 

One of the works in the exhibition was purchased by a U.S. soldier before returning to 
the U.S. The work was by Park Soo Keun, who is famous in Korea, but the soldier purchased 
it for about $5 at the time, and it hung in his Laguna Beach living room for about 
40 years. The painting, called Homeward Bound , is simple, and worth about a million 
dollars today. Interestingly, though Park is very famous in Korea, most Koreans would 
have never seen this painting. 

Dr. Moon often mentions that it is important to remember that this is not the full picture 
by any means. What we see in the show are only what has survived colonial history, war, 
division of the peninsula, etc. 

When you go to this exhibit, plan several hours so you can take it all in. Do not plan a 
short lunch-time visit. 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. This 
exhibition closes February 20. The museum is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays 
from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Closed Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturdays and 
Sundays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, you can call (323) 857-6000, or go to 

Catch breaking news at:
Pet of the Week

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The classic feature film will 
be shown on Sierra Madre Playhouse’s 
big screen on Wednesday, February 
15, 2023 at 7 p.m.

 Butterfield 8. Romance. Directed 
by Daniel Mann. Written by 
Charles Schnee and John Michael 
Hayes. Based on the novel by John 
O’Hara. Produced by Pandro S. Berman. 
From MGM. (Color, 1960, USA, 
109 minutes, not rated) Starring Elizabeth 
Taylor, Lau-rence Harvey, Eddie 
Fisher, Mildred Dunnock, Betty Field, 
Dina Merrill. A beautiful New York 
model and socialite enjoys a very active 
night-life, but all things change 
when she falls for a married man and 
the consequences are tragic.

 Winner of the Academy Awards® 
for Elizabeth Taylor.

 “It shows Taylor and Harvey in 
their prime.”---Films Graded

 Tickets are $10. Online ticketing: 
http://sierramadreplayhouse.orgor reserve by phone at (626) 355-4318. 

 DISCOUNT: Teen tickets (age 13-19) are available at $5 through the TeenTix Pass 
program. Go to our website to learn more.

 Sierra Madre Playhouse is located at 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 
91024. Ample free parking is available in lots behind the Playhouse and across the street.

 Covid-19 safety protocol: Masks are required for all audience members inside the 

 BUtterfiekld 8 is being presented in connection with our live stage production Call 
Me Elizabeth. Kayla Boye stars as Elizabeth, February 10 through February 19. For ticket 
information, go to or call (626) 355-4318. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737