Opening in Spring 2022
Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea
Lehmann Maupin announces plans to expand its presence in Seoul with a new gallery location opening in early spring 2022. Designed by the award-winning firm Society of Architecture (SoA), the newly-renovated, 2,600 square foot venue will occupy two floors in the Hannam-dong neighborhood, situated in close proximity to Storage by Hyundai Card and the Leeum Museum of Art. The new gallery, which also boasts an outdoor terrace to exhibit sculpture, will open in spring 2022 with a solo exhibition of new work by Lari Pittman, marking the distinguished American artist’s debut in Korea.
At a time where Korea’s creative hub is thriving at breakneck speed, the expansion of the new Seoul space will further play a vital role in the growth of the art scene in the city. Launched in 2017, Lehmann Maupin’s Seoul outpost was one of the first international galleries to establish a permanent space in Korea, solidifying its reputation as a pioneer among Western galleries following the launch of its first location in Asia in Hong Kong in 2013. In recent years, the gallery has expanded its regional operations considerably, increasing its activity with seasonal spaces in Taipei and Beijing, as well as growing its staff based between Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Seoul. Over the past decade, artists on the gallery’s roster have gained heightened visibility and prominence through numerous solo and group museum exhibitions, biennials, and art fairs across the continent.
An expansion of this kind will enable Lehmann Maupin’s artists to experiment and mount more ambitious installations and to transform the visitor experience, allowing visitors the opportunity to engage with multiple aspects of an artist’s practice in a way they weren’t able to previously. In designing the space, the gallery sought to develop dedicated exhibition spaces across two floors in order to place artists in dialogue and program shows simultaneously, opening up new curatorial conversations and juxtapositions. The new gallery space will also include an outdoor terrace, that can accomodate free-standing sculptures and installations.
The inaugural exhibition at Lehmann Maupin’s new space will be devoted to Lari Pittman (b. 1952, Los Angeles, CA, lives and works in Los Angeles, CA), widely regarded as one of the most significant painters of his generation. The artist’s signature, densely-layered painting style includes a lexicon of signs and symbols (such as bells, eggs, animals, ropes), a compilation of varied painting techniques, and a clear homage to the handmade, craft, and the decorative. Pittman’s unique visual aesthetic and complex compositions mediate the tension between color, text and imagery; landscape and decoration; and chaos and order with remarkable dexterity and often on a large scale. The Seoul exhibition titled, Opaque, Translucent and Luminous, will consist of 15 new paintings. Inherent in the title is a transition from dark to light – terms that Pittman’s work interrogates both materially and metaphorically. The works gesture to different types of landscapes; opaque works recall interior landscapes, while translucent works suggest the surfaces of stained glass windows. The luminous paintings, the brightest and most optimistic in tone, refer to dense, populous cityscapes; in urban space, Pittman locates potential for hope, regeneration, and renewal. Throughout this series, Pittman weaves in symbols, including repetition of an egg which acts as a continually shifting signifier across the body of work. Further details on the exhibition will be announced in early 2022.
Rachel Lehmann, co-founder of Lehmann Maupin, says: “Our connection with Korea runs deep. It has long been a city of incredible creative energy, as well as artistic output and exchange. We have the special privilege of working with such historically important Korean artists as Do Ho Suh, Lee Bul, and Suh Se Ok—relationships that date back to as early as 2000 and which have been crucial in defining the gallery’s DNA. Over the past 30 years, David and I have made countless trips, especially over the past five years as we’ve put down permanent roots with our Seoul gallery. We’re tremendously proud of the close community we’ve built of collectors, curators, artists, writers, and importantly, the Korean public, who have shown their support for our program of boundary-pushing artists. We have enormous appreciation and gratitude for Korea’s rich cultural framework and for the opportunities we’ve had to collaborate with local and regional institutions, museums, and biennials, including the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Korea (MMCA), the Leeum Museum of Art, the Amorepacific Museum of Art (APMA), Space K, Seoul Museum of Art, Art Sonje Center, the Gwangju Biennale, and the Busan Biennale, among others. With Seoul continuing to grow as an artistic center, I am very excited that we are in a position to expand alongside the ever vibrant art community in the city.”
The Seoul gallery will continue to be led by Senior Director Emma Son, who has been a member of Lehmann Maupin’s leadership team for four years. Son joined Lehmann Maupin after more than two decades as both a curator and gallerist in Seoul, bringing with her an established collector base, nuanced understanding of 20th-century and contemporary artists, and longstanding connections with the region’s most important institutions.
Under Son’s leadership, Lehmann Maupin rapidly expanded the scope of its program in Seoul, presenting the inaugural Korean exhibitions for numerous celebrated contemporary artists from the gallery’s program including McArthur Binion, Mandy El-Sayegh, Gilbert & George, Chantal Joffe, Liza Lou, David Salle, Cecilia Vicuña, and Nari Ward, among others. In addition to opening up new, local opportunities for its artists from abroad, the gallery has organized exhibitions by some of the most historically important artists in Korea, including Lee Bul, Do Ho Suh, and Suh Se Ok.
Emma Son, Senior Director, says: “With this move, we are more than doubling our footprint and reaffirming our commitment to Seoul and the local community we are part of. The city is undergoing a period of rapid transformation with an infusion of cultural investment and international interest—2022 will surely be Korea’s year on the international stage, and we are ready and excited for this next chapter. Furthermore, we are thrilled to be able to debut Lari Pittman in Korea and continue Lehmann Maupin’s mission of introducing artists in new geographies and developing our artists’ careers internationally.”
About Lari Pittman
Pittman received his BFA from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA in 1974 and his MFA from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA in 1976. Recent solo exhibitions of his work have been organized at Museo Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico (forthcoming); the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (1996, 2019); The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA (2016); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art St. Louis, St. Louis, MO (2013); Villa Arson, Nice, France (2005); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA (1996); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (1996); Corcoran Museum, Washington D.C. (1997); ; University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA (1996). Select group exhibitions featuring Pittman’s work include APMA, Chapter Three, Amorepacific Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea (2021); Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (2020); 50 + 50: A Creative Century from Chouinard to CalArts, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA (2020); Waking Dream, Ruby City, San Antonio, TX (2019); Less Is a Bore: Maximalist Art & Design, ICA Boston, Boston, MA (2019); cart, horse, cart, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY; Give a Damn., the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY (2018); The Long Run, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2017); Between Two Worlds: Art of California, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco, CA (2017); Inaugural Installation, The Broad, Los Angeles, CA, (2016); The Art of Our Time, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA (2015); Art AIDS America, West Hollywood Library and One Archives Gallery and Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2015), Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA (2015), Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, GA (2016), the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, NY (2016), Alphawood Gallery, Chicago, IL (2017); America is Hard to See, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2015); Earthly Delights, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL (2014); and Comic Future, Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX (2013), Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, (2014). Pittman has participated in multiple biennial exhibitions, including documenta X, Kassel, Germany (1997) and the 1997, 1995, 1993, and 1985 Whitney Biennial exhibitions.
Pittman’s work is in numerous public and private collections, including the Akron Museum of Art, Akron, OH; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Amore Pacific Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; The Broad, Los Angeles, CA; Carnegie Institute of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino, Italy; Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA; Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Monterrey, Mexico; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA; Peter Norton Family Foundation, Santa Monica, CA; Phoenix Museum of Art, Phoenix, AZ; Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco, CA; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA; Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, NE; Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY; Weatherspoon Art Museum, The University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.
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Exterior photo by Sonongji