Michael Joo’s artworks investigate concepts of identity and knowledge in a hybridized contemporary world. Joo’s artwork addresses disparate elements such as science and religion, nature and human intervention, fact and fiction, as well as high and low culture. His work investigates the coexistence of willpower and inevitability within nature and human culture. Joo contrasts the notion of artistic intentionality versus chance happenings or accidents and these serve as both thematic concepts and constructs.

Using a range of materials and media in provocative ways, Joo addresses humanity’s various states of knowledge and culture, questioning the fluid nature of identity while prompting his audience to consider how and why we perceive the world as we do. In his sculptures and installations he has re-created rope stanchions from metal to glass, rendered crystals to into metallic forms, cut apart and reconfigured antlers among many other transformations of natural objects to manmade outcomes.

Within performance and video works he swam through a ton of MSG, waited in the wild for elk to lick salt off of his body, and walked against the flow of crude oil along the Trans Alaskan Pipeline.

Select solo and group exhibitions include: the Menil Collection, Texas; Serpentine Gallery, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.; Rodin Gallery (Samsung Foundation), Seoul; and MIT’s List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts. In 2001, Joo represented Korea at the Venice Biennale, and Bodhi Obfuscatus (Space Baby) won grand prize at the 2006 Gwangju Biennial; and in 2012, Blain Southern, London, presented the substantial solo show Exit From The House Of Being. Select collections include: Guggenheim Museum, N.Y.; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.; Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.; and the Samsung Foundation for Art and Culture, Seoul.


2017 Single Breath Transfer Kujke Gallery, Seoul
2012 Exit From The House Of Being Blain Southern, London, UK
2012 Transforming Minds: Buddhism in Art Asia Society Hong Kong Center, HK
2011 Glasstress 2011 Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, Venice, IT
2011 Surreal v. Surrealism Contemporary Art, IVAM, Valencia, ES
2010 Have You Ever Really Looked at the Sun? Haunch of Venison, Berlin, DE
2010 Michael Joo Galleria Marabini, Bologna, IT
2009 Michael Joo Anton Kern Gallery, New York, USA
2008 NeoHooDoo: Art of a Forgotten Faith The Menil Collection, Houston, USA
2006 Michael Joo Rodin Gallery (Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art), Seoul, KR



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