1988 in Art History

The 1988 Seoul Olympics did not just economically boost Korea’s image, nor did it only celebrate athletes (artists – to me) but also tore asunder the Minjung movement and provided an opportunity for Korea to re-settle and re-align its artistic focus for a boom of artistic merit of the 1990s.

The 1988 Olympics raised awareness of South Korea in the world arena. While artists had long been combining Korean and Western techniques and content, never before had the self-consciousness of that interaction become more in tune with public sentiment. While Minjung art of the 1980s wanted to make ‘people’ art with content accessible by an average person, 1988 raised a cosmopolitan foreshadowing into what Korea has become today. 1988 heralded an economic miracle with generations of art makers combining Korean language with Western convenience and with technological savvy. It is 1988 I believe that laid the groundwork for the Hallyu movement and the significant confidence of Korean artists in creating relevant abstract and installation art.


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