Byron Kim

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Byron Kim (born in 1961 in La Jolla, California) is an American contemporary artist. He is Korean American, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.[1][2] In the early 1990s he produced minimalist paintings exploring racial identity. He graduated from Yale University in 1983 where he was a member of Manuscript Society.


Kim's work in the early 1990s consisted of monochrome canvases depicting the skin tones of friends and family.[3] He gained early recognition for Synecdoche, his contribution to the 1993 Whitney Biennial, which embodied the aesthetic and political aspirations of the art in that year's exhibition.[4] Synecdoche (1991–1992) is a grid of 400 small, monochromatic paintings. Each panel recreates the skin color of an individual who sat for Kim while he painted their portrait.[4] Although the works, at first glance, resemble minimalist paintings of the 1960s the racial and political dimensions became apparent after reading in the exhibition catalogue how the works came about.[5]

These monochrome canvases were followed by two or three-zoned canvases that color-sampled objects, sites or people.[3] Kim collaborated with artist Glenn Ligon on Black & White (1993), part of a series critiquing the 'prejudices' of art materials, specifically the hues of 'Flesh'-colored tubes of paint.[6] 46 Halsey Drive Wallingford CT (1995) records his family members' various recollections of the color of a home Kim lived in as a child. Other works employ a more naturalistic approach to represent details such as the palms of the artist's hands, or the whorls in his children's hair.

Kim also paints landscapes[3] and makes photographic assemblages.[7]

See also[edit]

  • Inside the Artist's Studio, Princeton Architectural Press, 2015. (ISBN 978-1616893040)


  1. ^ Vogel, Maria (2021-03-19). "Artist Byron Kim's Deceptively Modest Meditations on Identity Pose Important Questions—Here Are 3 Facts to Know About His Work". Artnet News. Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  2. ^ Berwick, Carly (2011-04-23). "Stranger in America". Retrieved 2022-04-29.
  3. ^ a b c Carey Lovelace, Byron Kim at Max Protetch - Brief Article, Art in America, October 2001.
  4. ^ a b Michael Kelly in Salim Kemal, Ivan Gaskell, Politics and Aesthetics in the Arts, Cambridge University Press, 2000, p249. ISBN 0-521-45418-2
  5. ^ Michael Kelly in Salim Kemal, Ivan Gaskell, Politics and Aesthetics in the Arts, Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp249-250. ISBN 0-521-45418-2
  6. ^ Erika Doss, Twentieth-Century American Art, Oxford University Press, 2002, p237. ISBN 0-19-284239-0
  7. ^ Grace Glueck, Art in Review, The New York Times, Dec 9, 2005.