In 2003, North Korea released a comedy film called Our Fragrance, which polarized Korean and Western cultures, particularly in regards to food. The film is premised on the importance of defending the Korean tradition from foreign impositions, reflecting North Korea’s withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003. The film uses kimchi as that which symbolizes cultural homogenization, nationalism, and cosmopolitanism by projecting two interrelated points: first, kimchi is an indigenous Korean tradition that needs to be preserved to reify national identity; and second, kimchi signifies revolutionary ideals of defending the country from foreign powers.
Our Fragrance defines state identity and the governing Juche ideology (North Korea’s appropriation of communist thought) through the consumption of cultural products such as food and clothes. The visuality of such cultural products in the film serves to differentiate, disparage, and refute the imposition of Western imperialism in the DPRK. By asserting the nationalist discourse of consuming North Korea’s traditional culture, the film maps out the binary opposition of moral/immoral, Korean/Western, and communism/capitalism for the North Korean audience.
Paradoxically, Our Fragrance blurs the apparent binary oppositions by presenting North Korea’s active engagement with the international community through the proliferation of its cultural goods. While maintaining national identity is the overarching theme of the film, there are also competing visions of cosmopolitanism and cultural exchange that are equally considered to be the revolutionary ideals of North Korea’s current political agenda. In this presentation, I examine the discourse of kimchi in Our Fragrance as that which opens up the possibilities of understanding North Korea’s political culture and the state’s persistent engagement with the international community to legitimate its statehood and perpetuate national division.
Milton Glaser: Modulated Patterns and The Piero Project
Opening reception: Friday, March 31, 2017, 5:00-7:00pm.
Both the Main Gallery and the Susan M. Reifer ’65 and Stanley J. Reifer ’64 Mezzanine Gallery will feature artwork by renowned American graphic designer and illustrator, Milton Glaser. The Main Gallery will show sketches, prints and printed designs in an exhibition entitled Milton Glaser: Modulated Patterns, curated and designed by Blazo Kovacevic, assistant professor of art and design at Binghamton University. Although Glaser might be best known for his commercial work – the ubiquitous I ❤ NY logo or the psychedelic Bob Dylan album cover – the exhibition features work in which Glaser experiments with pattern and perception. He works out his thoughts graphically in a series of prints of landscapes and images that celebrate modern masters such as Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec and Klimt. Milton Glaser: Modulated Patterns is accompanied by a catalogue, published by the Binghamton University Art Museum, which includes an introduction by the curator and an interview with Milton Glaser by Tom McDonough, Associate Professor of Art History at Binghamton University. In conjunction with Modulated Patterns, another exhibition of watercolors by Milton Glaser will be on view in the Susan M. Reifer ’65 and Stanley J. Reifer ’64 Mezzanine Gallery. Entitled The Piero Project, the selection of 37 drawings pay homage to paintings by Italian Renaissance artist, Piero della Francesca.
Further insight into the work of Milton Glaser will be given in a lecture at the museum on Thursday, April 27, 5:00 pm by Steven Brower, director of the “Get Your Masters With The Masters” MFA at Marywood University. Brower is the designer/author of myriad books and former creative director for Print Magazine, and former art director for The Nation and The New York Times. He also was an Associate at the Push Pin Group, co-founded by Milton Glaser.
Department of Art faculty member Frank Chang is participating in “Small Things,” a group show of current and past members of Monte Vista Projects, which opens Saturday, March 25. For more information, see below or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
SMALL THINGS – A group show at our new location
After a long run in Highland Park, Monte Vista Projects has moved! We’re now on the 5th floor of the beautiful Bendix Building in the Fashion District. We have joined forces with Tiger Strikes Asteroid Los Angeles and Post Gallery, who are both on the same floor. All three spaces will coordinate openings to be on the same night, so there’s much to see!
To celebrate our move and all the hard work by our members along with the members of TSA LA, we’re having a group show of our past and current members’ work. “Small Things” opens Saturday, March 25th, from 7-10 pm.
Our new address is:
1206 Maple Avenue, 5th floor, #523
Los Angeles, CA 90015