Saturday, November 27, 2021

BrooklynSeoul: Meet the Curators Lee Geuryung and Lee Hojin

BrooklynSeoul is currently on view at the BWAC gallery in Red Hook through December 12. Don't miss this exceptional exhibit. You can read this review in the BWAC Buzz for a preview.

                    Lee Geuryung  The self-portrait _ acrylic on canvas_38 x 60 inch

The Curators

Sister and brother team, Lee Geuryung and Lee Hojin are the co-curators of BrooklynSeoul. It's always informative to learn about the curators, their point of view and their objectives with an exhibit. I had the opportunity to meet Lee Geuryung at the Chashama Studios Open House in October. I learned about the exhibit she had proposed to Alicia Degener that was going to open November 13. She told me  she was soliciting Korean, Korean-American artists and artists whose work represented Korean artistic traditions and current Korean contemporary art. As a long time student of Asian art, I was already looking forward to seeing the artwork she would put together. Extra bonus, I love the pun of the title.

As you will learn in the interview, Geuryung is a very new member of BWAC. How incredibly exciting to welcome new members with this kind of vision and energy to  our community!

I'd like to begin this introduction to Geuryung and Hojin with examples of their artwork, some of which is included in BrooklynSeoul. 


The raincoat_acrylic on canvas_38 x 60 inch


                             The isolation_ acrylic on canvas_38 x 60 inch


        Exocentration_oil on canvas_1130 x 1620 cm

Spot of Inflection_Oil on canvas_39 2/5 × 35 in (100 × 89 cm)

My conversation with Geuryung:

How long have you been a member of BWAC? Have you shown your work in BWAC exhibits?

I became a BWAC member in August (September) 2021. My brother and I exhibited at BWAC in November 2020. I attended the Coney Island show and members show in 2021.

What prompted you to approach BWAC about this exhibit?

It was a good experience for me and my brother to exhibit at BWAC in 2020, we enjoyed the location and overall aesthetic of the space. Working with BWAC we were able to plan a bigger group exhibition where more Korean artists could participate. My brother and I wanted to exhibit at BWAC with some Korean artists this year as well. 

You and your brother co-curated this exhibit, have you co-curated before?

My brother and I have exhibited together in other places, but this is my first joint project.

How did you find the artists for the show? How many of them did you know before researching this show?

We tried to find talented and unique Korean Artists in Korea using our personal networks. In the United States, the artists applied by posting the exhibition application on NYFA. We knew about 15 artists before the show.

 When and how might an artist’s ethnicity be relevant in creating art? Or as a lens to see it?

These days, people are called "global citizens" and with the development of the Internet, many cultures and information are shared in real time. It can be said that ethnicity or nationality has become less meaningful. But personally, as an artist, I missed Korea, my homeland, when the situation became difficult in a crisis. When New York was shut down due to Corona, I missed Korea very much. I miss my motherland as I think of my mother in a crisis, and "Nostalgia" about my motherland is the subject and the inspiration for my work. I believe that the nationality of each artist is conveyed and expressed in the art work, whether it is concrete or abstract, regardless of the artist's will.

How does your own work reference being Korean? Or does it or does it matter?

I was born and raised in Korea. However, I studied Western art at New York's Pratt Institute and SUNY Graduate School. Method and media are Western, but I believe that my Korean sensibility, which is different from that of Western artists, is melded in my work.

I see this as a particularly interesting time in American culture. We are trying to not single out ethnic groups in a negative way but at the same time celebrate their contributions to our collective culture.  Do you agree? And as an immigrant how do you feel about how you are being welcomed into American culture?

Asian hatred exists in the United States due to the pandemic, but Korean art and popular culture are gaining great popularity. As a Korean artist, I am happy with these responses, and I think positively about the future. I am positive and grateful that America is trying to recognize the contributions of Korean and other minorities and give them opportunities. I am also happy and grateful to be able to co-plan Brooklyn Seoul. I am a Korean artist, but since I am based in New York, I am a part of American culture and I expect that there will be good opportunities.

Geuryung's Artist Statement

I express the mind and spirit influenced by eastern culture using marks, signs, symbols, gestures, texture, shape, and value to convey situations, context and emotional states of being. I learned calligraphy when I was young and when I use Sumi ink now, I am brought back to my childhood and release my emotions: happiness, sadness, depression, gratitude, passion, and energy as a form of spiritual practice. As an Asian female artist living in NYC – a uniquely diverse, ethnic, cultural and international community – I think about my nostalgia for my home country and my identity as a stranger.

During the pandemic, I have used my notes and words as motifs to explore the coexistence between diversity, nostalgia, immigration, social inequality, and culture. ​I have been asking myself: What is the life of an artist and art? In this reality of COVID 19, my dilemma has been what can I do best and how to do it now? I create multidisciplinary installations by composing drawings and paintings with the goal of bringing release to the viewer. While installing, I will memorize the sacrifice of people and comfort those who have suffered mental injury and stress and deliver a message of hope.


I graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a Master of Fine Arts in Painting & Drawing and a second Master of Fine Arts in printmaking. There, I interned with several professors. I graduated from Pratt Institute with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting. My residency opportunities include: Art Letters & Numbers in NY; the Woodstock School of Art in NY; Chautauqua Institution in New York; the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont; and the Green Olive Arts in Tetouan, Morocco. I had both solo and group exhibitions in locations including New York, NY; London, England; Assisi, Italy; Tetouan, Morocco; Seoul, Korea; Beijing, China; and Kwangju, Korea. Recently, I introduced my artworks at the New York Foundation of Art as an artist in the 2020 NYFA Immigrant Mentoring Program.

From the BWAC community, thank you Geuryung and Hojin for the effort you put into bringing us this exhibition.

BWAC Buzz is produced and written by BWAC board member Kristin Reiber Harris. Suggestions and comments always welcome. Contact her at or

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