Part road trip, part space odyssey, Lee Bul: Live Forever is a futuristic installation with three fully functional, soundproof karaoke pods - each with a different selection of pop songs and video projections. Visitors are invited to enter the car-like pods one at a time for a solo 'performance.'
The New Museum of Contemporary Art presents Live Forever, an interactive exhibition by Korean artist Lee Bul, from May 17 - July 7, 2002 in the Museum's first floor galleries. Lee's futuristic installation involves video projection and three fully functional, soundproof karaoke booths-white, pod-like capsules lined with leather and body-conforming foam-that visitors are invited to enter one at a time for a solo performance.
Part road trip, part space odyssey, Lee Bul: Live Forever blurs the lines between art and entertainment, artifice and nature, and public and private performance.
Lee explains that in these pods, where the body is surrounded by a machine-like shell, "the act of singing becomes a performance only for the self, like dancing in front of the mirror." The physical isolation of the capsule encourages each user to explore the personal fantasies and the collective memories evoked by popular music. Lee Bul first created a standing karaoke booth for her installation Gravity Greater than Velocity + Amateurs for the Korean pavilion at the 1999 Venice Biennale.
The three pods included in Live Forever continue her exploration of the karaoke phenomenon and embody the distinctive and pervasive role that karaoke has assumed within contemporary Asian culture. Lee's use of karaoke conveys her notion that everyone's life has a soundtrack that evokes a mixture of memory and desire that is distinctly individual, though also composed of elements of mass production and public consumption.
Each of the three karaoke pods in the exhibition contains a video and corresponding song list that address a specific theme. The first pod, Live Forever I, is lined in funereal black leather upholstery and explores the notion of journey. Visitors can choose from 48 songs including "Always on My Mind" by the Pet Shop Boys, "And I Love Her" by the Beatles, and "Young Americans" by David Bowie. The accompanying video Live Forever depicts couples dancing in the Tonga Room of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and explores Lee's interest in the relationships between lounge singers, tourists, and businessmen in transient hotel culture.
A second karaoke pod lined in orange, Live Forever II, is devoted to a collection of love songs. Participants can choose from songs like "Every Breath You Take" by the Police, "One" by U2, and "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young. Live Forever II presents Amateurs a video that captures a group of Korean schoolgirls playfully dancing in the park. Female identity and the stereotype of the nice, innocent Asian woman are explored in Amateurs and throughout Lee's work.
Silver blue lines the third pod, Live Forever III, which combines imagery and songs about city life. Its fast moving video, Anthem, speeds down a freeway in Seoul blurring neon signs and the geometry of the urban nightscape. Accompanying songs include "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by the Eurythmics, "Our Lip Are Sealed" by the Go-Gos, and "Dancing Queen" by ABBA.
Lee Bul is known for her sculpture, multi-media installations, and video that find their meaning in the interplay of nature, popular culture, and the materials and social conditions created by science and technology. The works in Lee Bul: Live Forever were produced by the artist in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Art Institute.
A two-volume color catalogue accompanying the exhibition documents the project and includes essays by Roland Kilts and Donna Gioia.
About Lee Bul
Lee Bul was born in Yongwol, South Korea in 1964 and graduated from Hong-Ik University in Seoul with a BFA in sculpture. She has had solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Art Institute; the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan; the BAWAG Foundation, Vienna; and Kunsthalle Bern Projectraum, Switzerland. Her work has also been featured in shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Centre Pompidou, National Museum of Modern Art, Paris. Lee was a finalist for the Hugo Boss Prize in 1998 and her work was included in the Korean pavilion at the 1999 Venice Biennale and the 1995 Kwangju Biennale. For more information about the artist visit http://www.leebul.com.
MEDIA PREVIEW: THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2002, 3:30-5:00PM
WITH ARTIST LEE BUL AND SENIOR CURATOR DAN CAMERON
Friday, May 17, 2002, 6:30-7:30PM, Conversation with Lee Bul
As part of the New Museum's Conversations with Artists series, Senior Curator Dan Cameron and Lee Bul will discuss Live Forever and other works.
First floor gallery, free with Museum admission.
Friday, May 17, 2002, 7:30-8:00PM, Book signing with Lee Bul
The artist will sign copies of the two-volume color catalogue that accompanies the exhibition Live Forever and includes essays by Roland Kits and Donna Gioia.
Support for the works and this exhibition were provided by the Korea Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. James E. Douglas, Jr. The New Museum's presentation is made possible with the support of the Korean Culture and Arts Foundation.
The New Museum has received important stabilization support for 2002 operations and programs from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Booth Ferris Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Nonprofit Finance Fund, the Andy Warhol Foundation, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Philip Morris Companies Inc., and the Peter Norton Family Foundation.
About the New Museum of Contemporary Art
The New Museum, founded in 1977 and located in the heart of Soho, is the premier destination for contemporary art in New York City. With an annual schedule of dynamic exhibitions, the Museum presents the most innovative and experimental work from around the world. Debate and discussion about contemporary culture are encouraged through a broad range of educational programs, publications, performances, and new media initiatives.
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