Arts of Korea:
Histories, Challenges, and Perspectives

Edited by Jason Steuber and Allysa B. Peyton

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“A striking new addition to the field. Belongs alongside similar histories of the
overseas development of other Asian countries’ major Asian art collections.”—Jinyoung
Jin, director of cultural programs, Stony Brook University  
 
“An exemplary array of 16 essays presenting case studies from U.K. and U.S. museums
that are collecting and exhibiting Korean art, as well as by Korean and
Japanese scholars reflecting on the broader reception of Korean art
internationally from prehistory to the present. A welcome addition to the field
that will prove an invaluable resource for decades to come.”—Andreas Marks,
curator of Japanese and Korean art, Minneapolis Institute of Art  
 
“Advances recent investigations in both the history of collecting traditional, modern,
and contemporary Korean art outside the country of origin and the aesthetic,
iconographic, and cultural dimensions of Korean art in its local, regional, and
international contexts.”—Richard A. Born, senior curator emeritus, Smart Museum
of Art, University of Chicago  
 
“Provides a wealth of information for understanding the collecting and presentation of
Korean arts in the West. Essential reading.”—Tianlong Jiao, Joseph de Heer
Curator of Asian Art, Denver Art Museum    
 
A monumental addition to the understudied field of Korean art, this brilliantly
illustrated volume assembles the perspectives of art historians, critics,
curators, and museum directors from major uni­versities and museums around the
world to trace the varied and dynamic experiences of Korean art acquisitions
over the past century. The first part of Arts of Korea reveals patterns of collection-building and display
strategies across time and place, discusses the role of the private collector
in the growth of institutional holdings, and addresses issues of provenance and
authenticity. Topics covered include the prevalence of ceramics at the Victoria
and Albert Museum in London; gallery architecture and design at the British
Museum; the aesthetic and political challenges of displaying another nation’s
artistic achievements through a case study of the United Kingdom; the
involvement of collectors and benefactors at the National Museum of Scotland;
Korean Buddhist paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; masterpieces
donated by industrialist Avery Brundage to the Asian Art Museum in San
Francisco; the diversity of media in the Newark Art Museum’s collection; and
early collecting at the Honolulu Museum of Art.  
 
In the second part, contributors focus on artists, artistic genres, and previously
neglected art periods, highlighting new research coming out of Korea and Japan
and speaking to specific challenges in introducing Korean art to an
international audience. After discussing important historical events that put
the United States and Europe in contact with Korean culture, this section
investigates Joseon dynasty Buddhist sculpture in American museums; Buddhist
paintings from the Goryeo period in Japanese collections; Goryeo celadon
ceramics and their reception in the West; world maps from the late Joseon
dynasty; the power of nationalism in Korean art history; the influence of
Europe’s Art Informel movement on Korean Informel artists; and the rich
heritage behind contemporary Korean ceramics. Assessing the current state of a field that has grown since Korean independence in 1945
to become a benchmark of the modern humanities, Arts of Korea provides a
much-needed historical and global overview of collection building,
presentation, and interpretation of Korean art.
 
Jason Steuber is Cofrin Curator of Asian Art at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida. He is the editor of several
volumes, including Collectors, Collections, and Collecting the Arts of China:
Histories and Challenges
.  
 
Allysa B. Peyton is assistant curator of Asian art at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida.  
 
A volume in the David A. Cofrin Asian Art Manuscript Series
Sample Chapter(s):
Table of Contents
Excerpt

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