Synecdoche And Byron Kim

Sunday, November 29, 2009

There's an interesting read on Korean American artist Byron Kim down at the Washington Post that I wanted to link up on up too:

"Synecdoche," by the 48-year-old Korean American artist Byron Kim, recently went on view to the public, filling a huge wall on the lower level of the East Building. The piece should raise eyebrows and questions, even some ire -- which shows just how good it is.

Like a lot of the best fine art, the premise behind the piece could hardly be simpler: It consists of a grid of 429 panels, each one 8 by 10 inches. Kim has painted each panel a single shade of pink or brown or tan that is meant to reproduce the skin tone of a different person who sat for him. A grid of names on a nearby wall lets us match sitters to their color patches. Lorna Simpson, the well-known African American artist, turns out to be dark-chocolate brown. The late Marcia Tucker, founder of the New Museum in New York, is a pale beige. Kim's unfamous relations tend toward pale olives and dark buffs.

A simple premise, yielding tangled thickets of meaning.
Read it in full here.