As more and more New York galleries continue to flock to Tribeca from elsewhere in the city, one international galley is joining them, opening a private showroom in the neighborhood.
The Seoul-based Gallery Hyundai, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, will set up shop next week, just in time for the 2019 edition of Frieze New York, with a solo exhibition of historical work by the Kyoto, Japan–based Korean artist Kwak Duck-Jun. The gallery will also show work by Kwak at Frieze, as well as have on offer pieces by Han Mook, Seung-taek Lee, Shin Sung Hy, Minjung Kim, and Kim Tschang-Yeul.
While Hyundai’s showroom and inaugural New York exhibition might seem like the first step in an international expansion, gallery director Do HyungTeh told ARTnews that he is more interested in using the appointment-only space as a gathering hub for the New York art world’s artists, curators, critics, and fellow gallerists—and not collectors. It will also not have a regular exhibition program, opting to only stage shows timed to art fairs and auctions.
“I never thought about having a gallery in New York,” said Do, who studied at New York University and joined the gallery, founded by his mother, Park MyungJa, in 2000. “By doing this, we think that we can help New York recognize more deeply the importance of contemporary Korean art.”
Do said that the gallery’s aim has always been to work not just within Korea but to present contemporary Korean artists on the international stage and recognize their “importance to international art history.” Under Park’s direction, the gallery first participated in art fairs in Chicago and Los Angeles in the late 1980s, adding Art Basel in Switzerland to its calendar in 1996. Recently, it has also collaborated with several U.S. galleries to present exhibitions including Blum & Poe, Lévy Gorvy, and Greene Naftali.
For the inaugural show, Gallery Hyundai will bring together paintings and drawings made between 1964 and 1969 by Kwak, who was born in Japan to Korean parents but whose Japanese citizenship was nullified as part of a treaty in 1951. Much of his work deals with this sense of alienation and loss of place and by extension identity, and has included early experiments in video and performance in the ’70s.
“I’m ready and the people in New York I think are also ready to see what contemporary Korean art has to offer,” Do said. “It’s the right time to do it.”