RM, the leader of Korean pop group BTS and an avid art collector and patron, released a 12-minute concert film Thursday taped at Dia Beacon, a contemporary art museum in Upstate New York.
The performance, which includes renditions of lead single “Wild Flower,” “Change Pt. 2,” and “Still Life,” coincides with the release of his solo album, Indigo, on December 2 and showcases numerous works at the museum.
“I thought [“Still Life”]could resonate with the artwork perfectly because you know it’s a whole kind of transformation,” the singer, rapper, and songwriter said in an interview with the museum published Friday. RM added that Dia Beacon had transformed the former box factory into a “magical,” “charming,” and “fascinating” place.
“The way the light touches the surface of the artworks, it’s just visually amazing.”
RM, whose real name is Kim Namjoon, visited Dia Beacon last December and posted images of the museum’s exhibits to his now 40 million Instagram followers.
The works showcased in RM’s performance include Robert Irwin’s landscape architecture on the property, John Chamberlain’s crushed metal sculptures, Richard Serra’s Torqued Ellipses, and Dan Flavin’s 1973 light sculpture untitled (to you, Heiner, with admiration and affection).
In the interview with Dia Beacon, RM further explained why he chose each work, starting with his admiration for Richard Serra’s sculptures in museums like Glenstone and LACMA.
“I absolutely wanted to do a live performance along his artworks in Dia Beacon because his artworks are kind of like a symbol of this place,” RM said.
For his choice of John Chamberlain, RM said he was fascinated by “the idea of how tough steel or cars could be transformed into an actual sculpture. I found it very refreshing.” RM additionally called Dan Flavin’s use of fluorescent lights captivating and said “his works have the power to transform, his lamps have a greater presence in this LED world that we live in today.”
RM has been recognized as an arts advocate for his much publicized visits to dozens of museums and galleries, amid a hectic schedule of concert performances and publicity events. RM’s enthusiastic posts about visits to places like the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Getty Museum, has increased their online engagement on social media and sent BTS fans to see those institutions, eager to see the same works he posted on Instagram.
RM has also been personally studying, collecting, and loaning art, like a $1.2 million sculpture by American multidisciplinary artist Roni Horn titled Untitled (But the boomerang that returns is not the same one I threw), 2013–17, works by Korean artists Yun Hyong-keun and Lee Bae, as well as a sculpture by the American Minimalist Joel Shapiro. Earlier this year, RM lent a sculpture by artist Kwon Jin Kyu to the Seoul Museum of Art.
RM’s influence on the art world even made an out-of-print book on Korean artists a bestseller, after he was photographed reading it in the summer of 2021. He was also recently recognized by a South Korean agency for his numerous financial contributions to arts institutions helping preserve the country’s artifacts overseas.
In a previous interview with ARTnews, RM explained that he chooses the museums and galleries he visits outside South Korea based on exhibitions featuring favorite artists, his own curiosity, and the spaces themselves. In South Korea, RM goes to places that feature modern and contemporary Korean artists.
“Visual art has helped me develop unique textures of sound, and added depth to my music. The habit of thinking in different senses and dimensions … also inspired me a lot,” he said.
See the film below: