The Transformation of North Korean Painting, 1945-2018
Monday, October 22, 2018 - 6:00pm
Institute for Asian Studies’ Yoshiko Kakudo Memorial Lecture

The Transformation of North Korean Painting, 1945–2018

Lecture by Frank Hoffmann (Koreanist and Art Historian)

Date: Monday, October 22, 2018

Time: 6:00 PM
Location: 294 Smith Memorial Student Union, 1825 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201

Free and Open to public


About the Lecture: Korea’s liberation in 1945, following several decades of colonial subjugation under Japanese rule, came at a high price. The country was then divided as the result of a hasty agreement between the Soviets and the Americans. Long before the division at the 38th parallel, colonialism and all that came with it had already created endemic and persistent ideological polarization among Korean activists, intellectuals, and artists. In the arts, European modernism had mostly been introduced to Korea through its colonizer. It was not by coincidence that conceptual terms such as “avant-garde,” coined during the Late Colonial Age in the West, exclusively incorporated Western cultural and geographic reference points. The introduction of Euramerican concepts and Western oil painting with exclusive claims to “the modern” put pressure on traditional Korean brush painting to modernize as well. It is against this historical background that after liberation, and especially since the late 1950s—preceded by a cursory period of Soviet-style socialist realism—“Koreanization” became the primary focus for conceptualizing the direction and form of the fine arts in postcolonial North Korea. This talk will present an art historical discussion of the major stylistic, nationalizing, and politically instrumental transformations painting in the DPRK has gone through over the past seven decades.


 About the Speaker: Frank Hoffmann studied Korean Studies and Art History in Germany and continued his research on modern Korean art and intellectual history at Harvard University. Among other institutions he taught at IIC in San Francisco and Hamburg University. He is the compiler of The Harvard Korean Studies Bibliography (2000) and the author of Berlin Koreans and Pictured Koreans (2015, Korean ed. forthcoming in 2018) and also manages the popular academic website. His articles have appeared in specialized Asian studies journals as well as acclaimed popular magazines; among many other subjects, he has done extensive research on Yŏnbyŏn-Korean and North Korean art.




Sponsored by the Institute for Asian Studies

For more information, contact:
The PSU Institute for Asian Studies
Tel. 503-725-8576