Guardian Spirits, mid-20th century, color on paper and fabric, 42 x 63 inches.

EAST LANSING, MI.- Kresge Art Museum celebrates Korea with two concurrent exhibitions. Gods, Demons and Generals: Icons of Korean Shamanism, an historical look at Korean culture and Haeri Yoo: Paper Deep, an intensely contemporary installation. The twelve paintings of Gods, Demon and Generals: Icons of Korean Shamanism represent and explore the indigenous shamanic tradition, which is a force that exists at the nexus of the culture and religion of Korea .The exhibitions are on view at Kresge Art Museum , Michigan State University, through October 18, 2009.

Gods, Demons and Generals: Icons of Korean Shamanism

This exhibition of late 19th-early 20th century paintings of spirits and deities represents and explores the indigenous shamanic tradition, which is a force that exists at the nexus of the culture and religion of Korea. These paintings were not created as art or decoration but rather as visual representations of the gods that a shaman (mudang or mansin) honors each day in her shrine, calls upon to help her give divinations, and manifests in her own person when she performs an elaborate ritual (kut). When they appear in rituals, the gods and ancestors speak through the shaman’s lips and perform through her own body, chastising family members for neglect and misbehavior but also bringing promises of good fortune. The images in the paintings, like the costumes that shamans wear when performing rituals, reveal a lively religious practice that incorporates elements of popular religion, Buddhism, and the old Confucian state, often with a dash of humor. To glimpse the world depicted in these compositions is to gain a unique perspective on Korea’s ancient past and immediate present at once.

This exhibition is organized by and paintings are on loan from The Korea Society, New York.


Haeri Yoo (Korean, born 1970) Paper Deep (detail), 2009, acrylic and mixed media on board, Panel A: 8 x 16 feet

Haeri Yoo: Paper Deep

Korean-born, New York-based artist Haeri Yoo executed a large scale, mixed-media installation on two gallery walls in the museum during the month of August. The Kresge Art Museum piece represents Yoo’s first in Michigan . She returns on September 28, 2009, in conjunction with MSU’s Department of Art & Art History Visiting Artist series, for class visits, a gallery walk and lectures.

Haeri Yoo’s mixed-media site-specific installation examines themes of humor, sexuality, gestural fi guration and psychological tension. The formal sensibility of her native Korea translates into sensitivity to negative space and markmaking. By adding and mutating reality, her wall drawing fuses beauty and violence.

Yoo says her “mixed-media drawings, paintings, and site-specific installations explore psychological humor, bodily tensions, human sexuality, and the overt and subtle relationships that haunt the space between beauty and violence.” Her large walls are a riot of color, forcing the viewer to stop and focus. Images hidden next to and below other images begin to emerge. “Marked areas are developed from touches produced in a brief moment and are judged based on the gesture's emotive quality that they stand in memory of. Final works are built up, painted, drawn, pasted and re-shaped from a large repository of smaller explorations. Like a child views the world, my work segregates and playfully mutates the realties present.”

Michigan State University will break ground on the iconic Eli and Edy the Broad Art Museum in March 2010, followed immediately by 23 months of construction and a 2012 museum opening. The university received a generous gift from Eli and Edythe Broad which provides $18.5 million for the building itself and $7.5 million in endowed funds for acquisitions, exhibitions and operations. The university has raised approximately $30 million toward the total project cost of $40 million to $45 million. Visit : http://www.artmuseum.msu.edu/