I was first exposed to this Korean legend in 2000 when I attended (completely by accident) his first American retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York. I can still remember winding up to the top and feeling truly awed at his genius, with each step forward revealing more and more. Side note: this is the second best exhibit I’ve ever seen at the Guggenheim; best was Cai Guo-Qiang’s I Want to Believe in 2008. I was to see Paik’s work in-person again only twice before he died: at the Hirshhorn (Video Flag) and a small piece at one of the WPA’s annual auctions (not sure of the year, but Annie Adjanavich was still their Executive Director).
This past Sunday, the National Gallery of Art opened an intimate exhibit which features works from the gallery’s collection as well as his estate. “The centerpiece is One Candle, Candle Projection (1988–2000), one of the artist’s simplest, most dynamic works. Each morning a candle is lit and a video camera follows its progress, casting its flickering, magnified, processed image onto the walls in myriad projections.” I haven’t seen it yet, but this description reminds me of a particular piece by South African artist Robin Rhode I saw last year at LACMA.
I’m sure the visit will be worth it. Also check out this succinct write up by Art Daily.
In The Tower: Nam June Paik on view through October 2.