Film and Media Arts Initiative
The Nam June Paik Archive
Nam June Paik is a pivotal figure in the history of modern art. Arguably the most important video artist of all time and certainly among the most influential and prolific, he was a legendary innovator who had a profound impact on late twentieth century art through his transformation of the electronic moving image into an artist’s medium. The Paik Archive provides a locus where Paik’s art and ideas are studied and made accessible to a world-wide constituency. Learn more about the archive.
Explore Online Nam June Paik Resources
See all videos for Nam June Paik: Art and Process
Interviews and Recollections about Nam June Paik
In 2014, Curator John Hanhardt conducted a series of interviews with colleagues and contemporaries of Nam June Paik. These discussions recall the interviewees’ life and work, highlighting their contributions to the art world as well as their personal and professional memories of Paik. Interviews have been edited by John Hanhardt for readability.
- Otto Piene Interview (PDF)
- Carol Brandenburg Recollections (PDF)
- Russell Connor Interview (PDF)
- Stephen Beck Interview (PDF)
- "Rediscovering Paik" Chat with John G. Hanhardt
About the Archive
The Nam June Paik Archive (see museum object record) is a blend of traditional paper holdings (letters, writings, ephemera) and objects (studio effects, recordings, vintage electronics and other source materials). Each aspect of the collection gains strength from the other, and together they present a fascinating picture of the artist’s life, work and creative process.
The Archive includes the artist’s early writings on art, history and technology, performance scores, production notes for videotape and television projects, plans for video installations, vintage photographs and documentation of large-scale television projects such as Guadalcanal Requiem (1977/79) and The More the Better (1988).
Letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes and notes from friends and business associates reflect Paik’s association with a wide international circle of artists, including many of those associated with Fluxus. Biographical materials include vintage photographs, an early affidavit of support from Jonas Mekas for Paik’s temporary entry into the United States and the transcript of an interview conducted by Dick Higgins.
Additional materials that provide insight into Paik’s career include documentation of early Fluxus performances from before and after Paik’s move to New York City in 1964; printed announcements and programs for exhibitions, festivals, and performances. The Archive also includes a variety of early models of televisions and video projectors, radios, record players, and cameras. Toys, games, folk sculptures, over 300 books and magazines, and the desk where he painted in his studio are also part of the Archive.
The Nam June Paik Archive is a gift of the Paik Estate. Though the estate gift forms the core of the Archive, additional items from private collections have also been acquired and are welcomed, with the goal of enhancing research assets on this artist.
Loan and Publication Policies and Requests
Support for the Nam June Paik Archive was received from the Smithsonian’s Collections Care and Preservation Fund.