Commercial galleries

Gagosian nets estate of Nam June Paik, grandfather of video art

The gallery launches its worldwide representation of the artist with a show in Hong Kong in September

Gagosian Gallery has taken on worldwide representation of the estate of Nam June Paik, the late Korean artist known as the grandfather of video art.

Paik, who died in 2006, was a playful pioneer who began using televisions as a medium in his work in the 1960s. Trained as a classical pianist, Paik said his musical background allowed him to understand time—integral to video art—better than other visual artists: “As painters understand abstract space, I understand abstract time,” he said.

Paik was involved with Fluxus artists, the loosely organised avant-garde group influenced by irreverent Dadaists. Paik’s innovative use of video technology was recognised during his lifetime, with exhibitions at leading institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1977) and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1982).

Gagosian’s representation of the artist was initiated by staff in its Hong Kong gallery, which will mount an exhibition dedicated to the artist this autumn. The show, Nam June Paik: the Late Style (17 September-7 November), will focus on videos, sculptures, paintings and drawings produced during his final decade, and will also include art dating from the 1960s through the 1980s. The exhibition is co-organised by Gagosian Gallery and the estate of Nam June Paik with the exhibition curator John Hanhardt, an independent scholar who has organised several retrospectives of Paik’s work at institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1982) and at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC (2013). Future shows are planned for Gagosian’s galleries in New York and London.

Most of the work on show in Hong Kong will be for sale, though some pieces will be on loan from the artist’s estate, according to the gallery. “Paik was an Asian artist—a Korean national fluent in Japanese—who lived most of his life in Europe and the United States,” a spokesman says. “As a Western gallery with an expanding presence in Asia, Gagosian sees Hong Kong as a fitting place to inaugurate our representation of the estate.”