Do Ho Suh: Public Figures

April 27, 2024 – April 29, 2029
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Public Figures (detail), Do Ho Suh (b. 1962, South Korea), 1998–2023, Jesmonite, aluminum, polyester resin, © Do Ho Suh, 2024. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Seoul, and London.

Freer Gallery of Art
Jefferson Drive and 12th St., SW
Washington, DC

Freer Plaza

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To usher in the next century of the National Museum of Asian Art, artist Do Ho Suh (b. 1962, South Korea) was commissioned to create a special edition of his work Public Figures to be installed in front of the museum and facing the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Internationally recognized for his large-scale installations, Suh was among the earliest contemporary artists featured in the museum’s groundbreaking Pavilion exhibition series and his work will be the first new sculpture installed outside the historic Freer Gallery of Art in over three decades.

As an artist living and working between his familial roots in South Korea and professional life in the United States and Europe, Suh explores how objects can make tangible the power of place and memory and the tension between individual and community identity. For Public Figures, Suh created a plinth for a monument. However, the imposing form is not a base to honor an individual or to mark a particular historic event, but rather a massive weight held aloft by many small figures in mid-stride. Placed among some of the United States’ most important national institutions, the sculpture prompts viewers to consider the notion of heroic individualism and the stability of national narratives.