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Frieze Seoul Steering Committee New York Representative Tina Kim:

“Contribution to raising the status of art that can be exhibited at art museums around the world through long-term sponsorship of Korean companies. The Korean art market has been established for a long time and as the collector base has expanded, it stands out in Asia.”

Tina Kim (52), a gallery CEO in New York, who travelled to Korea for the first Frieze held in Seoul, emphasized that this year’s results will be very important for the Korean art world.

As a member of the Frieze Seoul Steering Committee, she runs Tina Kim Gallery, the only Korean art gallery in Chelsea, New York, and has contributed to the promotion of Korean artists and works, including Dansaekhwa, to elite collectors. As the eldest daughter of Kukje Gallery Chairman Lee Hyun-sook, she emigrated to the United States when she was in her second year of middle school. She completed her Master of Arts in New York University and gained professional experience at Sotheby’s, Paula Cooper Gallery, and the Whitney Museum of Art. She opened Tina Kim Gallery in 2002.

She said, “The performance of foreign galleries making their debut in the Korean market this year is important for Frieze’s success. It will contribute to the success of the event.”

For this reason, above all else, she emphasized the importance of interacting with major art museum sponsors. “The experience of collectors or prominent high-ranking members of the world’s major art museum boards visiting Korean art galleries, collectors, and artist studios can be a powerful tool for civilian diplomacy.”

She also emphasized the virtuous cycle of the art ecosystem. Like Japan in the past, long-term support from large Korean companies has been the number one contributing factor to raising the status of Korean art.

“With the long-standing support and trust of the Samsung Group, an exhibition of Korean artists, including Lee Ufan, was held at the Guggenheim Museum; Amorepacific provided a $1 million fund for five years; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), opened an exhibition of Korean artists. All of these accolades have raised the status of Korean art.”

The sponsorship of domestic companies has also been a driving force for Korean curators to play an active role in leading foreign art museums such as Tate Modern in London, and M+ in Hong Kong. They also made efforts to introduce Korean works through exhibitions and museum collections. In addition, she emphasized that American collectors’ tastes in Korean art are diversifying beyond Dansaekhwa.

“There is an increasing number of collectors of internationally active artists such as Hye-gyu Yang and Suki Seokyung Kang, and overseas curators who are interested in Korean literature and art; we were asked by one such curator to introduce him to Korean poets during Frieze.”

Regarding the concern that foreign art galleries will enter Korea one after another, resulting in the erosion of the domestic market by the Frieze, Kim said, “Korean galleries also need to be internationalized and cater to sophisticated tastes, rather than focusing only on domestic demand.”

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