The Korean Cultural Center Presents Korean Craft: Yesterday and Today

By Editorial Team on April 30, 2019

Fri, 03 May 2019 - Fri, 21 June 2019

Courtesy of Korean Cultural Center.
Opening Reception: Friday, May 3 at 6pm

The Korean Cultural Center Washington, DC proudly presents Korean Craft: Yesterday and Today, an exhibition of traditional and modern Korean craft arts paired to evoke both classical sensibilities and clean, contemporary style.

Divided into three parts, Korean Craft sheds light on the distinct lines and colors embedded in a variety of Korean handicrafts. Complementary aesthetics emerge from the bringing together of these diverse forms, such as handmade wooden furniture, vibrant costumes and textiles, and elegant household ceramics.

This unique exhibition brings together rare historical artifacts from the collection of the Sookmyung Women’s University Museum, including items used in the daily lives of the Sadaebu, the ruling elite class who dominated Korean political and cultural life during the evocative Joseon Dynasty period from the 15th to the 20th centuries, as well as reconstructed and reimagined works by modern craft artists.

In Part I, Korean wood craft and contemporary fabric art are marked by their deliberate arrangement of lines. The simple design and frugal lifestyle of furniture in a Sarangbang, the gentleman’s quarters in a traditional Korean home, juxtapose with artist Park Sook-hee’s tapestry works whose densely assorted lines illustrate both the beauty of the line itself and a harmony of past and present.

Part II presents collaboratively created works by contemporary Korean craft artists united by the colors of traditional Korean pottery and textiles. Traditionally austere furnishings used by the Sadaebu aristocracy in their everyday lives contrast with contemporary ceramics of artist Choi Jiman, who reinterprets traditional Korean white porcelain and elegant blue-and-white porcelain. Contemporary textile artist Cho Ye-ryung also reflects on the utopian Sadaebu dream of a pure life removed from the world amid mountains and water, by coloring Tyvek fabric blue and stitching it into pieces inspired by the uniforms of late Joseon Dynasty officialdom.

Part III introduces the visual splendor of multimedia art installation Limen of Night, combining video, sound, and audience interaction based on a motif of the Hwarot, the elaborate crimson and rainbow-colored dress of royal women during the Joseon Dynasty. This work is by Project-Rebel9, an art group that archives vast amounts of cultural resources, interprets data employing modern sensibilities and media, and expands on these by constructing new works in various spatial forms.

In addition, two art workshops will be held in conjunction with this exhibition.

On Thursday, May 2 at the George Washington University Textile Museum, master embroiderer Kim Tae Ja will teach museum membershow to embroider a hand mirror with flowers, leaves, and other traditional motifs. Before the workshop, Curator Hye Ran Jung of the Sookmyung Women’s University Museum in Korea will give a brief introduction to Korean embroidery. Registration information for this May 2 program is at

On May 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Korean Cultural Center Washington, DC, Making Paper Hwarot (활옷) will allow the public tolearn about Korean Hwarot, the beautifully colored traditional wedding gown, and make their own miniature paper version by coloring and folding. No registration is required for this May 4 program; families, children, and adults are welcome.

Offering more than the sum of its many parts, this expansive exhibition allows visitors to experience the universality and unique beauty of Korean culture through the colors and lines embodied in traditional Korean crafts and their modern applications.

Korean Craft: Yesterday and Today is presented in partnership with the Sookmyung Women’s University Museum and sponsored by theMinistry of Culture, Sports and Tourism with support from the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE) as part of the Traveling Korean Arts Project.

Admission to the opening reception featuring talks by the artists on Friday, May 3 at 6:00 p.m. is free and open to the public, but registration is required at Korean Craft: Yesterday and Today will remain on view during regular hours through June 21, 2019.

The Korean Cultural Center is located at 2370 Massachusetts Ave. NW.