March 25, 2004 - Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art - Michael Joo
March 25, 2004

Michael Joo

Michael Joo
20 March - 06 June 2004

Palm Beach ICA 

and FILLING UP/SPILLING OUT, international performative videos

The Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art is pleased to present the first U.S. survey of the work of second generation Korean American, Michael Joo. The exhibition opens March 20 and remains on view through June 6, 2004.
Michael Joo is a ten-year survey of an extraordinary artist whose comfort with multiple materials is unique. The exhibition is curated by Jane Farver and organized by the List Visual Arts Center (LVAC) at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Consisting of over 50 works created between 1992 and 2003, the exhibition includes sculpture, installation, and works-on-paper. The show also features the world premiere of Joo’s three-screen digital video installation, Circannual Rhythm (pibloktok), which was shot on location in Alaska.

Joo’s work is both intensely physical and intellectually invigorating. As a leading contemporary conceptual artist, he uses different artistic forms to express passionately felt ideas about identity, the body, and cultural mores. “For the most part,” says Michael Joo, “I am interested in playing with notions of physicality and the slippery nature of the identity of an object (or person, place, thing).”

Joo’s selection of working materials include such diverse choices as natural and synthetic sweat and salt, an airplane fuselage, moose antlers, and performance based videos. His work is about energy and waste, the visible and the invisible. Even his abstract works refer to the natural world. At the same time, his most “realistic” pieces can seem apparitional, uncanny, and abstract.

“This lively and engaging exhibition is full of surprises and will open viewers’ eyes to extreme and intriguing possibilities,” says Michael Rush, Palm Beach ICA director. “Michael Joo is that special artist who successfully embraces science, religion, media, and environmental concerns in artwork that is at once challenging and exquisite.”

For instance, in his piece God II, Joo places the figure of an Inuit man dressed for arctic conditions atop a refrigeration unit. The man’s figure is made of clear resin, revealing a skeleton beneath the surface of his skin. Visitors unwittingly contribute to the burying of the figure by breathing, the moisture of each breath condensing into layers of ice.

A full color publication is available for purchase.

About the Artist

A second-generation Korean American, Michael Joo was born in 1966 in Ithaca, NY. Raised in Ithaca and near Minneapolis, he studied biology at Wesleyan University. After working for a seed science company in Europe, he received a BFA in sculpture from Washington University (St. Louis) in 1989 and a MFA in sculpture from Yale in 1991. He presently lives and works in New York.

Joo has had fourteen previous solo exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world. His work has been included in such important group exhibitions as the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea and the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. He has twice been included in the Venice Biennale, in the Aperto-93 exhibition in 1993 and represented South Korea in the 2001 Venice Biennale.

Joo first gained international attention in 1994 when Damien Hirst included him in the ground-breaking exhibition, Some Went Mad, Some Ran Away, at London’s Serpentine Gallery. He is the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1998) and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters’ and Sculptors’ Grant (2000).

Concurrent Exhibition: Filling Up/Spilling Out

Upstairs, in the New Media Lounge, Filling Up/Spilling Out features an international selection of artists from Brazil, Estonia, Norway, and the U.S. who use the body as a vehicle to challenge the limitations and confines of our physical and social existence. Comical and sometimes disturbing, these videos express the centrality of performance in video art since the days of its earliest practitioners, Vito Acconci, Martha Rosler, and Carolee Schneemann. The artists here (Jeanne Dunning, Marit Folstad, Tiago Judas, Michael Oliveri, and Ene-Liis Semper) manipulate the body, particularly the mouth, and confront us with a heightened awareness of ourselves. Filling Up/Spilling Out is curated by Jody Servon, assistant curator at PBICA.

Image Credits Left to Right:
Caribou, Arguendo, 2003. Taxidermy caribou, cameras, monitors; installed dimensions variable. Unpack, 2002. Hand-built resin over urethane foam, steel wire, MDF bases, enamel paint; dimensions variable. Saltiness of Greatness, 1992. Compressed salt blocks, engraved aluminum trays, steel, wood, polyethylene, synthetic sweat; 156 x 96 x 48 in.

All images courtesy of the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York, New York.
Michael Joo was organized by the MIT List Visual Arts Center and made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Council for the Arts at MIT. Production of Circannual Rhythm (pibloktok) was supported by the LEF Foundation and the American Center Foundation.

The Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art is located at 601 Lake Avenue in Downtown Lake Worth. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday from noon until 6:00 p.m. The museum is open until 8:00 p.m. on the first and third Friday of the month and admission is free between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. For more information, please call (561) 582-0006 or visit The exhibitions and programs at PBICA are generously supported by Robert and Mary Montgomery.

(561) 582-0006 ext. 0

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