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Michael Joo

In his work, artist Michael Joo combines and contrasts materials from nature and culture to question form and material, further asking fundamental questions about identity and the human condition, such as: “of what are we made; how do we relate to our environment; and, are we a part of, or apart from nature?”

His numerous solo and group exhibitions include shows at The Menil Collection, Serpentine Gallery, Whitney Museum of American Art, Rodin Gallery (Samsung Foundation), Haus der Kulturen der Welt, MIT’s List Visual Arts Center, and the Freer | Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution, among others.

In 2001, Joo and Do-Ho Suh represented Korea at the Venice Biennale, and Joo was a co-recipient of the grand prize at the 2006 Gwangju Biennial. His works are held in numerous public collections around the world, including the Brooklyn Museum, Denver Art Museum, Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Guggenheim Museum, Harvard Art Museums, Savannah College of Art and Design, Israel Museum, Moderna Museet Stockholm, Hammer Museum, and Walker Art Center.

He has written reviews and essays for numerous art magazines and publications, and has had several monographs of his artwork published, including a recent catalog from his 2018 show at Kukje Gallery. He has curated many exhibitions over the years, from Deterritorialization of Process in 2000 at Artists Space, to Too Full to Cry in 2019 at the Shin Gallery, both in New York. Joo’s awards include a United States Artists Fellowship in 2006 and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 1998. He served as the Arthur L. and Sheila Prensky Island Press Visiting Artist in the Sam Fox School in spring 2020.

Born in Ithaca, New York, in 1966, Joo earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Washington University and his Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Art. He has been based in New York since 1991 and currently teaches at the Columbia University School of the Arts and the Yale School of Art.

Alumni work

Relief sculptural bust that is yellowish white, surrounded by a circular, interconnect seriees of silver wires and lights giving a slightly bluish hue. The background of the work is black.

Sculptural installation of a felled oak tree trunk on its side, in a light-filled white box space. The tree is sliced into grid-like sections across its full width, with steel rods inserted vertically to hold it together.

Installation in a white box space with exposed beam-like structure overhead. On the ground are numerous orange-brown scultpure of various sizes and shapes. From the ceiling hangs down a large sculpture strucutre with many plastic-like pieces in rippling waves.