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Current Exhibitions on View

Korean Hats exhibit poster

Korea: A Land of Hats

September 10 through December 15, 2019
Charles B. Wang Center Skylight Gallery

Hats were key items in every Korean’s wardrobe during the Choson dynasty (1392–1910). A hat was not just an article of clothing; it was an important symbol of social status and authority, as well as a badge of ceremony. No outfit was considered complete without an appropriate hat, and this custom was practiced across all ranks of Korean society, from the highest elites to the lowest merchants, from newborn baby boys to venerated old gentlemen. For at least 500 years, hats served as indicators of class, gender, occupation, and affiliation in Choson Korea. This exhibition highlights the rich culture of Korean hat fashion a century ago by showcasing various hats, including those that differentiated class, occupation, age, marriage status, special occasion, and season of the year. These authentic traditional Korean hats were recreated by surviving artisans, who have been designated as living persons of Important Intangible Cultural Heritage. The exhibition is complemented by prints by Paul Jacoulet (1896–1960) and Elizabeth Keith (1887–1956), as well as by early twentieth century photographs of Korea. These two travelers visited Korea at the dawn of the twentieth century and provided an interesting Western perspective into the then vibrant hat culture of Korea during that era.

Supported by the "Traveling Korean Arts" project of the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange and the Ministry of Culture, Sport, and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, this exhibition is co-organized by the Coreana Cosmetics Museum in Seoul, the Charles B. Wang Center, and the Korean Cultural Center New York. The works by Paul Jacoulet and Elizabeth Keith are on loan from the collection of Young-Dahl Song, and the photo archives on display are from the collection of Norman Thorpe.

traveling korean arts logo   korean foundation for international cultural exchange logo   korean cultural center ny logo   ministry of culture, sports, and tourism republic of korea logo   Coreana Cosmetics Museum logo


Exhibition Survey

Please spend a few minutes filling out this survey to claim a free Korea: A Land of Hats tote bag at Wang Center's Suite 302. Your answers will be used by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism to improve future cultural exhibitions. Your responses will remain confidential and will not be utilized for any other purposes. Tote bag quantity limited to 100.

image of tote bag



Related Program

Korean Men's Hat-Making
Monday, September 9, 2019 @ 11 AM
Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City

A Guided Tour of Campus Galleries
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 @ 4:30 PM
Charles B. Wang Center Skylight Gallery

The Studio exhibit poster

The Studio:
Through a Surrealistic Lens

Long-Term Installation
Charles B. Wang Center Theatre Gallery

White, flat, dreamlike spaces, serving as thresholds between the inner, subjective self and the external, physical world, were a subject that fascinated the South Korea-based project group GREEM (a name that literally translates to “picture” in Korean). GREEM’s goal is to elicit feelings of strangeness, difference, curiosity, and fun in its audiences. Following a long and rich Surrealist tradition, GREEM draws inspiration from dreamlike narratives, absurd juxtapositions, and comic books for new graphic languages.

A huge, flattened, and cartoon-like artist’s studio in white and black is open, inviting viewers to live out their surrealistic fantasies. The realistic detailing of the artist’s studio also adds touches of humor, utility, and everyday-ness. As soon as the viewer enters the studio (which is carefully modeled and gives the illusion of a three-dimensional form), surrealistic dreams are triggered; the white, flat scene and the viewer’s point of view are disrupted.

The current exhibition is designed to be reproduced and seen on social media as much as it is meant to be enjoyed in its actual location. This imaginative exhibition crosses perspective, culture, and media.

Curated by Jinyoung Jin, Director of Cultural Programs at the Charles B. Wang Center, this exhibition is designed and presented by Project Group GREEM, based in Seoul, South Korea.

greem logo

Simplicity Over Complexity poster

Simplicity Over Complexity

Long-Term Installation
Charles B. Wang Center Outdoor Garden

Brooklyn-based Korean American artist Jongil Ma revives the Charles B. Wang Center's outdoor garden with architecturally woven sculptures, using varying lengths and types of thin wooden strips, both in their raw state and dyed in color. Three large, site-specific installations balance the positive with the negative, tranquility with tension, and stillness with movement. The installations interact with the Wang Center's architecture and spatial dynamics, transforming the garden through a multiplicity of viewing possibilities.

* The Charles B. Wang Center's exterior garden was cleaned up by Pi Lambda Phi  Fraternity as part of their community service. A special thanks to Ahmed Shata, Andrew Zheng, Omar Sandresy, Dan Monessa, Dhaval Shah, and Brian Crosby. 

Zen Rock Garden poster

Zen Rock Garden

Long-Term Installation
Charles B. Wang Center Outdoor Garden

Located on the first floor, in between the meeting rooms 101 and 102 at the Charles B. Wang Center, this Japanese rock garden (枯山水 karesansui) was created by Gerard Senese and his wife Hiroko Uraga-Senese as a tribute to the appreciation of Japanese culture. Japanese gardens are rich with symbolism, and they are usually created with certain meanings and wishes in mind. The Wang Center's new Zen garden features symbols of Buddhist paradises with a tortoise islet ( kame-jima) and a crane islet ( tsuru-jima). Made with rocks, the tortoise symbolizes prosperity and the crane symbolizes health and good luck.

White wonderland exhibit photo

White Wonderland

Long-Term Installation
Charles B. Wang Center Skylight Gallery

Wonju Seo is a Korean American artist whose primary medium has been textiles. The innovating textile artist Wonju Seo blurs the boundary between traditional craft, geometric abstract painting, and architectural sculpture with her vibrant textile works. In particular, Seo often explores the bold and abstract color sensibilities of pojagi. Pojagi is a centuries-old traditional Korean form of patchwork used to wrap gifts, to cover small food tray tables, and to carry around objects of everyday life, from jewelry to a heavy bedding. A utilitarian craft form, pojagi was originally made from the small pieces of silk, ramie, and hemp left over or discarded in the process of making garments.

Permanently displayed at Stony Brook University’s Charles B. Wang Center since 2015, Wonju Seo’s White Wonderland is integrated into a four-story skylight wall. The patchwork is 32 feet long and 26 feet wide, hanging from the center’s fourth floor and reaching to the ground just above a person’s height. In this work, Seo tackles abstract patterns with a radical simplicity of vocabulary and on a gigantic scale, aspects that distinguish her work from many other pojagi artists.

Seo uses simple geometric forms related to navigation and transforms them to create another reality, an entirely new spatial dynamic. But this dynamism is not due solely to the vastness of the patchwork; the effect is also driven by the rhythmic small patchwork patterns that cover this four-story wall. Through the pattern and the sheer size of the piece, she wanted the informality of this textile structure to become a part of the building’s structure.

Wonju Seo catalogue cover

Click here to view the catalogue