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Asian Art Calendar of Events

Monday, May 20, 2024

Exhibition Public - USA & Canada

Jakhodo Today

Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin Street,
San Francisco, California, USA
Aug 24, 2023 To Aug 24, 2024

Detail: Jakhodo Today by Dave Young Kim (American, b. 1979) was commissioned by the Asian Art Museum for the Lawrence and Gorretti Lui Hyde Street Art Wall and installed in 2023. Kim’s composition draws inspiration from Korean folk paintings of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). The tiger and magpie pairing appears so frequently in Korean art that it comprises its own genre: jakhodo, paintings depicting tigers and magpies. As tigers were believed to expel evil spirits and magpies represented bearers of good news, paintings of this duo were sometimes placed on the front gates or doors of houses to bring good luck. In time, a political dimension also emerged: caricatured as a foolish oaf, the tiger became a symbol for the aristocratic yangban, while the dignified magpie represented the common people; the display of such imagery allowed villagers to quietly rebel against the ruling class. The mural’s saekdong (colorful stripes) are a decorative element often used to adorn clothes and traditionally thought to summon good fortune. Their five or seven colored stripes originated with the concept of eumyang-ohaeng, or yin and yang, and the five elements.

The tiger and magpie appear on several artworks in the museum’s collection of Korean art. Kim notes that many Korean Americans may have grown up with such imagery without being privy to the symbolism behind it. “It speaks of the familiarity of gleaned tradition without having knowledge of the deeper context or ancestral culture,” says Kim; “this is the immigrant story.”

Dave Young Kim is a Los Angeles-based artist with Bay Area roots. A co-founder of the Korean American Artist Collective, Kim often uses the specific to address universal ideas of the human condition in his artwork. Fundamentally, he explains, his work speaks to the premise that “we are all looking for a place to call home.”

Phone No.: 415.581.3500
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