Past Event

Voices: Byron Kim

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Thursday, February 12, 1998 – 12:00PM to 2:00PM
Gallery 400 Lecture Room
400 South Peoria Street

Byron Kim Head Shot

A discussion with participating artists of Deposit, moderated by Hamza Walker.

Byron Kim (born 1961) is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. In the early 1990s he produced minimalist paintings exploring racial identity. The monochrome canvases depict the skin tones of friends and family. He gained early recognition for Synecdoche (1991–92), his contribution to the 1993 Whitney Biennial, which embodies the aesthetic and political aspirations of the art in that year's exhibition. The work is a grid of four hundred small, monochromatic paintings. Each panel recreates the skin color of an individual who sat for Kim while he painted their portrait. Although the works, at first glance, resemble minimalist paintings of the 1960s, the racial and political dimensions became apparent once the reader becomes aware of the subject. These monochrome canvases were followed by two- or three-zoned canvases that color sample objects, sites, or people. Kim collaborated with artist Glenn Ligon on Black & White (1993), part of a series critiquing the "prejudices" of art materials, specifically the hues of flesh-colored tubes of paint. Other works employ a more naturalistic approach to represent details such as the palms of the artist's hands, or the whorls in his children's hair. Kim's work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1998), the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (1996), and other national and international venues.

Image: Byron Kim.