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Headshot of Tom Hill, a man wearing a purple tie and suit
From J. Tomilson Hill
A gallery space with black and white art works in white frames hanging on different floating walls
Installation view: Minjung Kim. Hill Art Foundation, March 3–27, 2021. © Hill Art Foundation. Photo: Matthew Herrmann.

Read the foreword to the catalogue accompanying Minjung Kim’s exhibition.

I first met Minjung Kim at the Frick Collection dinner in January 2014, celebrating the opening of the exhibition, “Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Hill Collection.” She was the guest of David Jaffe, the former senior curator of European paintings at the National Gallery in London. When David asked if he could bring a close friend and talented artist, Minjung Kim, to our dinner, my first thought was that there would be only one other artist in attendance . . . my 97-year-old mother. I told David that I looked forward to meeting Minjung and introducing her to my mother.

Minjung captivated my mother with her knowledge of how ink could work magic on certain types of paper, including Hanji, a traditional material made from dried mulberry bark. Over the past six years, my wife, Janine, and I have become close to both Minjung and to her art. Following our Christopher Wool and Charles Ray exhibitions, we chose her as the third artist to be shown at the Hill Art Foundation.

What does she have in common with the other artists whom we collect in depth? Her integrity and rigor are always in evidence in her art. Classically trained and with a deep appreciation of the history of art, Minjung is also highly innovative: a “risk taker/ game changer” in that she is not afraid to merge the ink traditions of East Asia with a modernist European painting practice. Her art is special because it combines the traditions of Korean ink and watercolor and calligraphy with concepts of minimalism and abstraction.

Why present a Minjung Kim exhibition in New York City now? Although her works are collected by major museums, such as the Asia Society, the British Museum and the Samsung Museum of Art, there has never been a survey retrospective of her work spanning the many passages of her artistic career. Our Foundation’s primary objective is to enable artists to showcase their work in a fresh way. In this exhibition Minjung demonstrates the breadth and quality of her practice across different series over the last two decades.

When Janine and I created the Hill Art Foundation, we wanted to give artists whom we collect in depth a voice to express in our Chelsea space what each artist believes will offer new insights into their work. Christopher Wool chose photographs taken in Marfa, Texas, in juxtaposition with three decades of drawings, etchings, lithographs, paintings and sculpture. Charles Ray chose to bring his sculpture (and a drawing) into a dialogue with Renaissance and Baroque bronzes chosen from our collection. Minjung chose drawings from every major phase of her career to give our Foundation audience a window into the variety and depth of her work.

Janine and I are honored that our friend, Minjung, placed her confidence in Boon Hui Tan, the Director of the Asia Society Museum, and in the Hill Art Foundation to create a truly collaborative curation of her first career survey. Drawing on 37 works selected from different series across her career, this exhibition showcases the astonishing range of Minjung’s exploration of the interaction of ink and paper.

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