South Korea’s best-selling boyband, BTS, continue to make their mark in the art world. One of the group’s singers, known as RM, has been honoured by the state-run organisation Arts Council Korea, which gave the singer an “art sponsor of the year” award last month. RM was one of a number of individuals and companies honoured for “art patronage”.
According to the Korea Herald, RM was recognised for donating 100 million won ($90,400) to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul last September (the money was used to republish books that had gone out of print, which were then distributed to public libraries and schools). Arts Council Korea could not be reached for further comment.
Early last year, the K-Pop boyband launched a series of five major public art projects across the globe involving collaborations between some of the world's most significant artists and curators. The project was launched with Serpentine Galleries in London. Meanwhile, last summer BTS teamed up with Serpentine Galleries artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist as part of his ongoing “do it” exhibition-in-progress project.
Other recipients of Arts Council Korea's art patronage award include businessman Ha Jung-woong, the honorary director of the Gwangju Museum of Art, who has donated more than 12,000 works to museums and universities. The singer Henry Lau was also given an award for art patronage. At a livestreamed event, Park Jong-kwan, the head of Arts Council Korea, said: “Art patrons’ continued support helps the [local] arts scene, which is threatened by the Covid-19 pandemic.”