“Skin has become inadequate in interfacing with reality. Technology has become the body’s new membrane of existence.”
-Nam June Paik
Nam June Paik is attributed as one of the pioneers of video art. Born during 1932 in Seoul, Korea, Nam June Paik was the youngest of two sisters and two brothers and his father owned a major textile mill. To escape the Korean War, Paik’s family moved to Hong Kong, and later, Japan. Originally, Paik was an accomplished classical pianist, but as his studies continued, so did the evolution of his conceptual ideas. His first exhibition in 1963, entitled Exposition of Music – Electronic Television, transformed him from a composer and performance artist to the inventor of a new art form that engaged its audience with electronic media, video art. In 1964, Paik settled in New York and was married to Shigeko Kubota in the following year. His work began to contrast natural and video media together and in 1974 Paik created his newest concept, TV Buddha. The Virginia Museum of Fine Art was very fortunate to acquire this version of Buddha Watching TV in 2000. From the beginning of his career as a video artist in 1963, to his later work, Paik challenged the previous rules of art to create something phenomenally new. At the end of his life, Paik served as department chair at Staatliche Kunstakademie (National Academy of Arts) in Dusseldorf. Paik died in Miami in 2006.
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