See Inside Rising Star Richard Kennedy’s Dance-Inflected, Electrifying Institutional Debut In Asia

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South Korea’s burgeoning art scene is known for bravely embracing international art stars; as such, the Ohio-born, Berlin-based interdisciplinary artist Richard Kennedy, a rising dynamo in the art world, has found the right audience for their Asian institutional debut.

Known for their dance-inflected celebration and reflection of the queer Black experience, Kennedy has presented a new body of work that includes their signature, vibrantly-colored woven paintings and a new video installation at the Jeonnam Museum of Art. The two-year-old public museum is located in Gwangyang, a four-hour train journey away from the capital city Seoul.

In the show, called “Acey-Deucy,” the artist continues their exploration of relationships and sexuality at the intersection of class, race, and gender. The solo show, which is spread across three distinct rooms, breaks down boundaries between binaries such as black and white or male and female. While the exhibition’s narrative may be part of an ongoing discussion topic in the west, situating this in culturally conservative Korean society feels particularly urgent.

Richard Kennedy

Installation view of Richard Kennedy’s solo exhibition ‘Acey-Deucey.’ Photo by Seungwook Yang. Image courtesy of Jeonnam Museum of Art, Korea and Peres
Projects.

Kennedy’s new film, titled , features performances by the artist and collaborators Kyle Kidd and Tahir Francis—the mystical, multi-screen video installation is arranged to form the letters “o” and “h,” referring to the artist’s home state Ohio; the biographical work is testament to their own self-searching journey.

Kennedy, who has had solo shows at MoMA and MoMA PS1, was included in the group show “Ubuntu, A Lucid Dream” at Palais de Tokyo in 2021, where they transformed the Paris museum into a dance floor for a participatory performance. Audiences in Korea were able to experience the artist’s live performance as well, a medium central to their practice, during the exhibition’s opening. Works created during the performance are on view in on gallery room, which was transformed into an imaginary classroom during the performance as Kennedy revisited the trauma of humiliation and power dynamics in a school setting.

Since its inauguration in March 2021, the Jeonnam Museum of Art has been showcasing Korean and international art, including a solo presentation of Russian art collective AES+F and a major retrospective of Georges Rouault in dialogue with Korean artists. Kennedy’s show is the museum’s third solo presentation of an international name since its inception. Given their gallery Peres Projects recently opened a second space in Seoul’s Songhyeon-dong area, adjacent to other major galleries and museums, it is likely that South Korean audiences will be seeing more of Kennedy’s electrifying work.

Richard Kennedy

Richard Kennedy, milk & cookies, performance view on March 16, 2023, Jeonnam Museum of Art, Gwangyang, South Korea. Photo by Seungwook Yang. Courtesy of Jeonnam Museum of Art, Korea and Peres Projects.

Richard Kennedy

Richard Kennedy, milk & cookies, performance view on March 16, 2023, Jeonnam Museum of Art, Gwangyang, South Korea. Photo by Seungwook Yang. Courtesy of Jeonnam Museum of Art, Korea and Peres Projects.

Richard Kennedy

Richard Kennedy, milk & cookies, performance view on March 16, 2023, Jeonnam Museum of Art, Gwangyang, South Korea. Photo by Seungwook Yang. Courtesy of Jeonnam Museum of Art, Korea and Peres Projects.

Richard Kennedy

Richard Kennedy, milk & cookies, performance view on March 16, 2023, Jeonnam Museum of Art, Gwangyang, South Korea. Photo by Seungwook Yang. Courtesy of Jeonnam Museum of Art, Korea and Peres Projects.

Richard Kennedy

Installation view of Richard Kennedy’s solo exhibition ‘Acey-Deucey.’ Photo by Seungwook Yang. Image courtesy of Jeonnam Museum of Art, Korea and Peres Projects.

Richard Kennedy

Installation view of Richard Kennedy’s solo exhibition ‘Acey-Deucey.’ Photo by Seungwook Yang. Image courtesy of Jeonnam Museum of Art, Korea and Peres Projects.

Richard Kennedy

Installation view of Richard Kennedy’s solo exhibition ‘Acey-Deucey.’ Photo by Seungwook Yang. Image courtesy of Jeonnam Museum of Art, Korea and Peres Projects.

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