TheArtro will present a Korean visual arts fund and provide support information to international readers. Currently, quite a number of notable exhibitions and art projects are offered with the support of public funds in the Korean visual arts world. Among them, support plans for international exchange programs are continuously expanded as the Korean art world has become internationalized. A variety of opportunities and support plans including invitations for research, international seminars, publication support, and art competitions directly planned and run by public institutions or art museums of Korea are open to international artists, as well as residency programs and exhibitions that international artists and professionals themselves can apply for. TheArtro will cover such opportunities including various support programs for international artists offered by Korean institutions in a series of articles, topic by topic.
In this third article, we will take a look at the support programs for international networking and research that take place among visual arts professionals, and symposiums and publication support projects pertaining to discourse production.
As there is an increasing recognition for the importance of culture, the governmental-level support for culture and cultural industries is more active than ever. Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS) and Arts Council Korea (ARKO) both of which are affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism are running diverse projects that support creation, exhibition, professional networking, and discourse production, while the Korea Foundation (KF) affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also supporting exchange programs to promote Korea’s national brand. The self-sustainability of the art fields and construction of long-term collaborative relationships have emerged as the prominent topic in Korean policies of art and cultural support, and indirect support for events and creation is being strengthened as much as direct support. Additionally, forms of international exchange that could contribute to personal exchanges and discourse formation such as invitation program, research support, workshops, conferences and publication support are being reinforced. In this article, I would like to introduce the projects designed for human interchange and active discourse production that are targeted towards international art planning professionals and experts among diverse projects run by various supporting institutions.
Research-related support projects run by respective institutions
Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS), which was established in 2005, is a foundation affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and has been expanding its support for projects related to international exchange of visual arts since 2013. While ARKO structures its projects to give direct support for creation and exhibition of artworks, KAMS projects are geared more towards indirect channels of support such as constructing collaborative relationships with overseas institutions and forming connections between those in and outside of Korea to support exchanges with overseas experts and circulation of content. Starting with the outbound research support programs for visual art professionals in Korea that launched in 2013, KAMS is currently running projects to invite overseas professionals, support workshop participation, host international symposiums, and provide support for international publications.
(Invitation) KAMS is running an invitation program to introduce the Korean contemporary art scene to overseas experts. This programs centers mostly around the even years when international events for visual arts such as the Gwangju Biennale, SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul, and Busan Biennale are held in Korea and invites globally active visual arts professionals. Diverse experts from curators to critics, media personnel, and museum experts are selected and invited. In 2016, for instance, a total of sixteen experts participated in the program to perform their research on the Korean art scene, including the biennales in Korea. The recipients of this support program are selected based on recommendation and receive financial support for airfare and accommodation while they participate in programs designed by KAMS. In addition, there are programs for art market experts and related personnel. During the Korea International Art Fair (KIAF), KAMS provides support to invite collectors and market experts, who receive airfare and accommodations and participate in the art tour program.
(Research Support-Project ViA) KAMS is running a research support program for specialists called Project VIA, which supports around thirty professionals in visual arts-related fields to participate in overseas research and programs. This program, which launched in 2013, is jointly organized in collaboration with overseas organizations, whose list of programs so far include the Media Art Festival (in collaboration with Ars Electronica), Publication of Visual Arts (with Whitechapel Gallery), Museum Marketing (in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art), and so forth. Overseas organizations that seek to promote professional knowledge through research support or personal exchanges with visual arts professionals may propose a co-organized research plan to KAMS. This program aims at reciprocal exchange, and KAMS can support planning and managing of the program when the collaborating institution conducts research in Korea. In 2014, the center collaborated with the Mondriaan Fund in order to manage the 2014 orientation trip for the research of Korea and Japan, and provided programs for the overseas organizers to conduct research in Korea. In 2015, Flanders Arts Institute and the Mondriaan Fund invited three Korean organizers to partake in follow-up research to the orientation trip and provided a program for the research of contemporary art in the Flanders area.
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(Symposium) KAMS has hosted international symposiums related to its running projects. In January 2016, KAMS held a conference at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) entitled “The Current Landscape of Art Book Publishing and the Catalogue Raisonné,” in collaboration with the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association (CRSA). In July the same year, they invited art assessment experts from France and the US to open a seminar on transparency and vitalization of artwork circulation in order to examine the system of assessment and circulation of artworks overseas and the legislative system regarding art assessment. In 2017, KAMS established a new project to support holding and managing an overseas symposium in order to vitalize discourses on Korean art. This symposium is held collaboratively with overseas institutions once or twice a year to conduct and expand the discussions on Korean art within the global context, with participation by experts from inside and outside of Korea. In May 2017, the symposium was held in collaboration with Asia Society Hong Kong under the title “Asian Avant-Garde Art and Its Practice,” and in October, KAMS managed a program in Los Angeles, “From Postwar to Contemporary Korean Art (1953–Present): Conflicts, Innovations and Interactions,” with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
(Publication) KAMS can be a new partner for publishing houses that seek to publish introductory books or books on discourses pertaining to Korean art. This project was set up in 2015 in order to meet the demand from the Korean art field experts who detected the need for Korean art texts that could provide access to globally active researchers and curators. In its early stage, the project centered on supporting translation projects for existing texts and providing assistance for translation of catalogues for overseas exhibitions, but in 2017 it was restructured as an international publication support program to seek collaboration with overseas publishers or researchers. Opportunities are open to overseas researchers or publishing houses that are ready to write and publish serious discursive texts or introductory texts on Korean art.
More information on programs supporting and promoting the visual arts international exchange programs by KAMS can be found at the following site:
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(Invitation) Arts Council Korea (ARKO) is an institution designed to support the creation of art and culture as well as exchange programs in Korea, and is in charge of providing support to overall areas of art and culture from performance to visual arts and literature. Through its international arts exchange programs, ARKO supports personal exchanges in non-governmental sectors. In the case of inviting overseas personnel for planning and running projects for Korean artists or organizations, funding applications are restricted to only Korean planners and organizations working in association with them. Applicants can apply for airfare, accommodation, and partial expenses for projects and can receive additional points towards their application if their degree of completion is higher, or if projects include joint production and presentation, mutually beneficial programs, or exchange programs with areas that have had relatively little contact with Korean art scene. Open calls are offered twice a year, and in 2018, deliberation will be conducted in January and April. Information related to the projects can be found through the links below:
The Korea Foundation is an institution affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose objective is to promote the international recognition of Korea through cultural diplomacy. The programs supported by the KF include cultural and arts exchanges, promoting overseas Korean studies, and performing public diplomacy via international collaboration, networking, and publishing and media. The KF also runs programs to which overseas institutions and experts can apply directly.
(Invitation) The KF is running programs that provide partial support to overseas cultural and arts institutions and groups when they are hosting overseas events related to Korean arts and culture. In addition to exhibitions and events, the KF also provides financial support for producing printed program books or inviting Korean experts to overseas locations when lectures, workshops,z or seminars related to visual arts are held by individual organizations. The application is open only to organizations and not to individuals. The application link is below:
(Workshop) The KF has been running the Korean Art Workshop for Overseas Museum Curators to invite the curators in charge of Korean art in overseas museums to improve knowledge of Korean arts and culture as well as to form networks between experts in the Korean art scene. This program consists of specialist lectures, seminars, and field trips, and the 2017 program was run in collaboration with the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA).
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) runs fellowship programs and international symposiums with the purpose of expanding opportunities for global exchanges with museum experts and providing forums for the discussion of Korean art.
(Fellowship) The MMCA International Research Fellowship is a program designed to provide research support for overseas curators in their research trips to Korea. Application is open to curators, researchers, and museum specialists between the age of 25 to 45 who reside outside of Korea, and the fellowship recipient is selected through open call. Recipients will be provided with airfare, accommodation, and KRW 900,000 for their expenses in Korea. The recipient must submit a research essay after the completion of the program. Detailed information can be found through the following link:
(Symposium) MMCA has established a new department for academic events and symposiums in 2017 in order to actively host and get involved in international symposiums. In April 2017, MMCA and the Tate Research Centre co-organized and held the MMCA-Tate International Symposium titled “Territories Disrupted: Asian Art after 1989”; in October 2017, it collaborated with E-flux Architecture and held “Superhumanity: Post-Labor, Psychopathology, Plasticity.” Also in April 2018, it is planning to host an international symposium with the theme “What is being studied in art museums?”
(Workshop) The Gwangju Biennale Foundation has introduced international curator courses for young curators, art practitioners, and experts in related fields, with the purpose of providing platforms for curating and promoting professional knowledge in contemporary art. This program consists of themed special lectures, Gwangju Beiennale exhibition preparation, group studies, and field trips to meet experienced curators who are internationally active and artists participating in the biennale, as well as the Gwangju Biennale art director. Participation is limited to curators, art practitioners, or experts in related fields under age 33, who may participate free of charge and are provided with accommodation. Airfare and other expenses must be paid by the participants. Detailed information can be found at the following link:
Currently, a number of Korean organizations are involved in the planning and operation of diverse projects related to international exchanges of arts and culture. Among the projects designed to promote personal interchanges and discourse production, programs to which overseas participants can apply in the form of open call are not large in number, but there are many opportunities to participate in diverse overseas projects or seek collaboration with other institutions. In particular, for those preparing events related to Korean visual arts or considering publication or symposiums on Korean visual arts, the possibilities to connect to one of the above mentioned projects are increasing even more.
Eun Yong Kwon is now working at KAMS (Korea Arts Management Service) since 2013, and mainly interested in international exchange practices in visual arts. She is a PhD candidate in Art management at SKKU (SungKyunKwan University).