Do Ho Suh: Almost Home

March 16, 2018 – August 5, 2018

Smithsonian American Art Museum (8th and G Streets, NW)
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Do Ho Suh’s immersive architectural installations—unexpectedly crafted with ethereal fabric—are spaces that are at once deeply familiar and profoundly alien. Suh is internationally renowned for his “fabric architecture” sculptures that explore the global nature of contemporary identity as well as memory, migration, and our ideas of home.

Do Ho Suh: Almost Home is the first major exhibition of the artist’s work on the East Coast. It will feature large-scale installations of the artist’s brightly hued Hub” sculptures — intricately detailed, hand-sewn fabric recreations of homes where Suh has lived from around the world — along with several drawings and a series of semi-transparent replicas of household objects called Specimens.” The Hubs comprise a series of conjoined rooms and passageways that visitors can enter and experience from the inside, including a new work depicting the artist’s childhood home in Seoul that will debut in the exhibition.

Suh was born in Korea and moved to the United States at the age of 29 in 1991, and he currently lives between New York, London, and Seoul. He crafts his works using traditional Korean sewing techniques combined with 3‑D modeling and mapping technologies. Suh sees these works as suitcase homes,” so lightweight and portable they can be installed almost anywhere.

His works transform the familiarity of a domestic space into a liminal one, where home’ is both an idealized concept and physical reality. Through these spaces, Suh examines how home and identity are ever-evolving concepts in today’s global society, and how culture, tradition, migration, and displacement intersect as we construct our ideas of selfhood and origin.

The exhibition is organized by Sarah Newman, the James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art. It is the latest in a series of projects at the museum that situates the art of the United States in a global context.

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  • Do Ho Suh’s immersive architectural installations—unexpectedly crafted with ethereal fabric—are spaces that are at once deeply familiar and profoundly alien. Suh is internationally renowned for his “fabric architecture” sculptures that explore the global nature of contemporary identity as well as memory, migration, and our ideas of home. The exhibition Do Ho Suh: Almost Home is organized by Sarah Newman, the James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art. It is the latest in a series of projects at the Smithsonian American Art Museum that situates the art of the United States in a global context. 

    SARAH NEWMAN: "Almost Home" is a collection of work by Do Ho Suh that explores the nature and meaning of home. Do Ho Suh was born in Korea in 1962. "Almost Home" includes drawings, small-scale fabric sculptures that depict objects and appliances, and a sequence of large-scale, immersive sculptures that represent different places that he lived throughout his life. The hallway in his apartment in New York is pink. The hallway from his apartment in Berlin, where he lived in 2002, is green. And the corridor from his childhood home in Seoul is blue; that is a new work that will be seen for the first time in this exhibition.

    All of Do Ho Suh’s work is handmade, and hand stitched. The craftsmanship is the result of years of training with Korean artisans. As much as the details are tangible, they’re made out of this very sheer material, so they’re almost dissolving in front of your eyes. I always think of them as kind of like the experience of waking up and trying to capture a dream.

    I am Sarah Newman, the James Dicke curator of Contemporary Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and I’m the curator of “Do Ho Suh: Almost Home.” The exhibition is a good fit for the Smithsonian American Art Museum because it takes a broad view of national identity and encourages us to think about American life as made up of many different experiences and many layers. Do Ho Suh’s work reminds us that individual places really matter and that as global as the modern world is, it is still anchored by tradition and culture.
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  • Artists working in today’s world are often crossing international borders and wrestling with ideas of cultural identity. Join Korean-American artists Tai Hwa Goh, Jiha Moon, Nara Park, and Jayoung Yoon as they engage in a lively conversation about this transnationalism and the influence of Korean tradition on their work. Sarah Newman, SAAM’s James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art, moderates the discussion.

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    About the Artist

    Do Ho Suh was named the Wall Street Journal Magazine’s 2013 Innovator of the Year in Art and was recently awarded the 2017 Ho-Am Prize, which is regarded as Korea’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Yale University. Suh has had solo exhibitions at major museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, among others. His work is in numerous international public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Tate Modern, London; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and more. Suh is represented by the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York, Hong Kong and Seoul.

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    Credits

    Do Ho Suh: Almost Home is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from Altria Group, Asian Pacific American Initiative Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the Joanne and Richard Brodie Exhibition Endowment, The Coby Foundation, Ltd., the James F. Dicke Family Endowment, Barney A. Ebsworth, the Global Citizens Fund, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, Maureen and Gene Kim, Korea Foundation, the Margery and Edgar Masinter Exhibitions Fund, the Michael A. and Marilyn Logsdon Mennello Endowment, and the Share Fund.