Unearthing Origins: The Use of Art, Archaeology, and Exhibitions in Creating Korean National Identity, 1945–1962
The 1957 exhibition, Masterpieces of Korean Art, suggests that the promotion of Korean cultural artifacts as innate and inherent representations of Korean national pride is a relatively recent phenomenon with a traceable history. Curated by Alan Priest and Robert Paine, the show made its debut in Washington, DC, and toured the United States and Europe over a five-year period. Crafted with a Western audience in mind, Masterpieces nevertheless served many interrelated and competing constituencies. As the first large-scale exhibition of Korean artifacts sent abroad, the show became the battleground for the assertion of a specifically South Korean identity separate from its then recent history as a Japanese colony during the early part of the twentieth century.
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