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LACMA Acquires James Turrell and Robert Irwin Works and Announces Korean Exhibitions

Robert Irwin, Miracle Mile, 2013, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Hyundai Motor as part of The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology at LACMA in honor of the museum's 50th anniversary, © Robert Irwin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo © 2015 Philipp Scholz Rittermann

Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced today a decade-long partnership with Hyundai Motor Company, which will support the museum's Art + Technology initiative and expand scholarship and programming about historic and contemporary Korean art.

The museum has also acquired artist James Turrell's dome-like "perceptual cell" Light Reignfall (2011), which was featured in the museum's 2013-2014 exhibition. Another acquisition includes Robert Irwin's 2013 fluorescent light sculpture Miracle Mile that is currently installed at the BCAM wing. "Both those artists' works date back in conception and ideas to the Art and Technology project at LACMA starting in the late 1960s and early 70s," said LACMA CEO Michael Govan in remarks today, "so bringing together history and the present with living artists from Los Angeles is very exciting for us." As part of the Hyundai Project, LACMA's current Art + Technology Lab will be sustained through 2020, providing grants for artists whose works interface with the fields of tech and science. Turrell's interactive experience Reignfall will tentatively open in 2016, and was a popular part of the museum's series, as visitors made appointments to be immersed into a spherical chamber. "It was a hit, it was the ticket to have to see Perceptual Cell," Govan said.

James Turrell, Light Reignfall, 2011, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Hyundai Motor as part of The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology at LACMA in honor of the museum's 50th anniversary, © James Turrell, photo © Florian Holzherr
James Turrell, Light Reignfall, 2011, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Hyundai Motor as part of The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology at LACMA in honor of the museum's 50th anniversary, © James Turrell, photo © Florian Holzherr

The Hyundai Project will also provide support for various exhibitions, publications and programs of Korean art, ranging from traditional calligraphy to contemporary works. The series of exhibitions begins in 2018 with an exploration of traditional Korean calligraphy, followed by a survey of contemporary Korean artists in 2022. A showcase of 20th Century Korean art in 2024 will display works from the end of Dynastic age and the beginning of Modern era. This final exhibition will require extensive research, according to Govan, because "so little research has been done with the field," due to a new critical interest in the period. The Korean Art Scholarship Initiative sponsored by the Hyundai Project will also promote research into the under-represented area of study, and foster online scholarly texts and symposia too.

The Hyundai Project continues the museum's recent highlighting of Korean works, including the 2014 exhibit Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910, which provided more than 150 objects from across five centuries. But for many Los Angelenos, Govan says, historic and contemporary Korean culture doesn't seem distant; it's interwoven into the fabric of the city.

"When I take my route to work, I see as many signs in Korean as I do in English, so this is a very exciting local and global initiative," Govan said, "and we will be able to reach our Los Angeles audience and beyond with this partnership."

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