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Suh Do-ho sculpture to be installed at Smithsonian

By Park Yuna

Published : March 20, 2024 - 15:42

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"Public Figures" by Suh Do-ho (Lehmann Maupin)

Celebrating 100 years of operations, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in Washington will present Korean artist Suh Do-ho’s Public Figures sculpture in the museum's Freer Plaza, where it will be installed for five years.

The commissioned work will be unveiled April 27, becoming the first new sculpture to be displayed in front of the building in over three decades, the museum has announced.

Suh has created a plinth for a monument with numerous small, individualized figures portrayed midstride holding the massive weight afloat.

"Public Figures" by Suh Do-ho (Lehmann Maupin)

“Suh’s monument will prompt visitors to ask questions -- about individual and collective identity, whom we memorialize and why,” said Chase F. Robinson, the museum’s director.

“Public Figures is an embodiment of our museum’s commitment for our next 100 years: to serve as a resource for learning, reflection and collaboration. It also reflects our deepening engagement with the art and culture of Korea, which we have championed since we first opened our doors in 1923,” he added.

Suh is one of the earliest contemporary artists to be shown at the museum -- his site-specific work Staircase-IV was exhibited in 2004 as part of the museum’s “Perspectives,” a series of exhibitions focusing on the work of leading contemporary artists from Asia and the Asian Diaspora. Suh is best known for his fabric sculptures that reconstruct to scale his past and present homes and studios in South Korea, Rhode Island, Berlin, London and New York.

Home to more than 46,000 objects, the National Museum of Asian Art opened in 1923, beginning with the extensive collection of Charles Lang Freer. A collection of items from the late Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee bequeathed to Korean state museums will be exhibited at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art in 2025.