An orange aluminum can, a book by Hal Foster, a cookbook, and many pairs of white slip on shoes with the North and South Korean flags appear on a surface.

Photograph courtesy of Mina Cheon Studio

Photograph courtesy of Mina Cheon Studio

Dreaming With: Mina Cheon

In the lead up to the Triennial opening, our Dreaming With Q&A series provides an exclusive glimpse into the artists’ lives and studios.

Where have you been during the lockdown?
Baltimore, Maryland.

Is there anything you have found yourself cooking a lot of, and if so, would you be open to sharing the recipe with our readers?
Originally from North Korea, Mul-Naengmyeon (물냉면) is Korea’s summertime favorite, cold buckwheat noodles in chilled beef broth. Maangchi’s recipe is as good as mine:

What are you reading?
What Comes After Farce? Art and Criticism at a Time of Debacle by Hal Foster (Verso, 2020)

What music are you listening to?
No music, I listen to podcast news: Anderson Cooper 360, NPR Politics, Coronavirus Fact vs Fiction, BBC Global News, Korea and the World, Korean Kontext, The Korea File, NKNews Podcast, and my favorite, The Ajumma Show.

A series of large, blue canvasses are propped on easels around a tile-floored room. A bright, electric, blue sculpture appears at the right.

Photograph courtesy of Mina Cheon Studio

Have you seen any particularly good digital exhibitions in the past few months?
I’m looking forward to these three upcoming ones:

“Please Touch the Art Post-internet Art Exhibition” at Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, (UMOCA),

“The End Semipermeable (TEiS) Postviral Postvirtual Exhibition,” interactive 3D viewing navigation platform,

“Defund + Defend: Digital Artifacts for The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL)” by the New Media Caucus and Queer Caucus for Art,

What do you find yourself working on most during quarantine?
From Self-Care to Global Peace. I prioritize a good night’s sleep so I can work on projects for global peace during my waking hours.

Postcards, prints, stickers, and other ephemera depicting Korean imagery is arranged on a wall.

Photograph courtesy of Mina Cheon Studio

How has your studio practice changed in recent months?
My studio practice has changed with more thorough clean-up rituals. Since traveling and social gatherings are not possible, this is allowing for the extra focused studio and research time.

Have you created any art in response to the pandemic?
Yes, I’m working on virtual pieces, imagining new online possibilities in upcoming projects that respond to love, kindness, and sharing during the pandemic. I was also recently on a Raw Hope of Humanity Rising panel hosted by Third Space Network and the American University Museum in DC talking about information versus propaganda related to the pandemic, protests, social media, and democracy.

What artists most inspire you?
Right now, DC protest street art, Black Lives Matter, is as inspiring as it gets.

What are you most looking forward to about participating in the upcoming inaugural Asia Society Triennial?
While socially distanced, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone and being surrounded by contemporary Asian artists and their works. I’m looking forward to celebrating the Triennial and further fostering the allyship between communities of color tackling anti-racism efforts together, as the theme of the exhibition is about how we do not dream alone.

What do you most want viewers to take away from experiencing your work in the Triennial?
That artists are activists working on social justice projects on a national and global level, and that my promotion of Korean unification efforts echoes calls for peace on earth.

Has your perspective as an artist changed in the midst of the pandemic?
Yes, I feel more alive than ever.

Are there any fun facts about your practice you would like to share with readers?
I paint in my dreams and I dream for unification.
A curator once told me that I had the cleanest studio.
I clean galleries and museums as performance art, but on my knees and wearing a Hanbok (한복), Korean traditional garb, like all good Korean mothers.

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