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Hyundai Motor Company Dreams of a New Future through Art ②: Partnerships with Tate and LACMA

Hyundai Motor Company has been supporting the works of numerous artists through different art institutions with the aim of providing a variety of experiences to a larger audience.

Installation view of Hyundai Commission Anicka Yi: In Love With The World at Tate Modern, October 2021. Photo by Will Burrard-Lucas. Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.

Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai) is the largest automobile manufacturer in Korea, and the company’s long-term support for art continues not only in Korea but also abroad. Not only has Hyundai partnered with the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA), but it has also signed partnerships with Tate Modern for 11 years since 2014 and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) for ten years since 2015 to support their various programs.

The Hyundai Commission with Tate Modern for Established Artists

El Anatsui, Skylines? 2008, Aluminum and copper wire, 300 x 825 cm © El Anatsui Private Collection. Courtesy the Artist and October Gallery, London. Photo © Jonathan Greet.

In 2014, the Tate in London entered into a long-term partnership with Hyundai for 11 years, lasting from 2015 to 2026. The Hyundai Commission is an annual exhibition program that provides opportunities for established contemporary artists to present a large-scale solo project at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.

This year, El Anatsui (b. 1944), a world-renowned Ghanaian artist who recently had a solo exhibition at Barakat Contemporary in Seoul, was selected to participate in the commission project. El Anatsui is one of the most renowned artists who has been breaking away from the traditional concept of sculpture. Much of his work interrogates the legacy of colonialism and draws links between consumption, waste, and the environment. In particular, he is well known for creating tapestry-like sculptures using discarded objects obtained from recycling centers.

Tate Modern, which is part of the Tate group along with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St Ives, was opened in 2000 after redesigning the Bankside Power Station. The exhibition takes place at the Turbine Hall, where the turbines of the power station used to be located. The large exhibition space is now known for artist commissions and projects.

Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Photo by Massimo Virgilio on Unsplash.

With the support of the Hyundai Commission, Tate Modern presents the world’s most acclaimed works of contemporary art by artists who create various dialogues. Through this project, artists are given the opportunity to present a new large-scale project, thereby showing the public the latest trends in contemporary art.

The artists who participated in the Hyundai Commission include Abraham Cruzvillegas (2015), Philippe Parreno (2016), SUPERFLEX (2017), Tania Bruguera (2018), Kara Walker (2019), Anicka Yi (2021), and Cecilia Vicuña (2022). El Anatsui will join as the eighth artist.

In honor of its partnership with Tate, Hyundai contributed to the Tate Collection’s acquisition of nine key works by the renowned South Korean artist Nam June Paik to help improve the museum’s art collections.

Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational

Tate Modern, London. Photo by Clifford on Unsplash.

Tate and Hyundai joined forces once again with the goal of adding a new perspective to global art history and promoting exchanges among artists. The Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational started in January 2019 and is scheduled to continue until 2025. The program intends to expand its collections and programs beyond Western Europe and North America.

Tate Research Centre: Asia and the Tate Collection Committee have been conducting in-depth research on Asian art for several years, collecting works and organizing exhibition programs from a global perspective that challenges Western-centered art history. The Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational aims to enhance the museum’s research that takes a multilateral view of culture, art, and history.

The program also seeks new perspectives on contemporary art by collecting artworks, planning exhibitions, and collaborating with curators and experts outside the Tate Museums, as well as holding symposiums, seminars, and workshops and publishing research findings.

Sook-Kyung Lee. Photo by Roger Sinek. Courtesy of Gwangju Biennale Foundation.

The Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational is led by Sook-Kyung Lee, senior curator of international art at Tate Modern in London and also the artistic director of this year’s Gwangju Biennale. Lee is a curator who has been studying art narratives outside of Euro-American practices and has been working to realize transregional contexts to address horizontal connections and exchanges across the globe.

The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology with LACMA

Chris Burden, Urban Light (2008). Photo by Ruben Gutierrez on Unsplash.

Hyundai partnered with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in 2014 to support various research projects, exhibitions, and programs at LACMA through 2024. Under The Hyundai Project, LACMA has made important progress in two important areas: Art + Technology and Korean Art Scholarship. The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology focuses on the convergence of art and technology and presents innovative works that can discover new possibilities in art.

LACMA, the largest art museum in the Western United States, was established in 1961 as a separate branch of the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art. With this background, the museum has presented various works that encompass the convergence of genres, which is in line with Hyundai Motor Company’s goal of connecting technology and art.

As part of The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology and in honor of the museum’s 50th anniversary, Robert Irwin’s Miracle Mile (2013) and James Turrell’s Light Reignfall (2011) were included in the LACMA collection.

Robert Irwin, Miracle Mile, 2013, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Hyundai Motor as part of The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology at LACMA in honor of the museum’s 50th anniversary, © Robert Irwin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo © 2015 Philipp Scholz Rittermann

As part of The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology, LACMA presented a number of exhibitions introducing artists such as Random International, a London-based art collective and collaborative studio, and media artist Diana Thater in 2015; Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu’s first VR video exhibition in 2017; 3D: Double Vision in 2018 that showed works related to VR and 3D printing; and Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You, which was held in 2022.

The museum also runs the LACMA Art + Technology Lab with Hyundai, which encourages experiments in design, creative entrepreneurship, adventures in art and industry, collaboration, and interdisciplinary dialogue. LACMA and Hyundai also present exhibitions and programs under the theme of Art+Tech for Chinese audiences at the Yuz Museum.

The Hyundai Project: Korean Art Scholarship Initiative

Installation view of LACMA Korean galleries, photo © 2015 Museum Associates/LACMA.

Another program is The Hyundai Project: Korean Art Scholarship Initiative. LACMA houses the largest Korean art galleries in the United States and has contributed to studying Korean art history.

Considering the relative lack of systematic research on Korean art history compared to the increased interest in Korean art, Hyundai partnered with LACMA to lay the groundwork for research on the history and value of Korean art. Through Hyundai’s support for the program from 2015 to 2024, LACMA plans to hold three large-scale Korean art exhibitions to shed light on the history and development of Korean art.

The first exhibition, Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing, was held in 2019, featuring 90 works that span the 2,000-year history of Korean calligraphy. Most recently, The Space Between: The Modern in Korean Art, an exhibition highlighting Korean modern art, was held from September 11, 2022, to February 19, 2023. Lastly, an exhibition highlighting 20th-century Korean art is scheduled to be held in 2024.

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