Series of Public Programs Celebrates the Life and Art of Nam June Paik

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Award-winning Musician and Composer, To Perform April 14
March 22, 2013
News Release
Nam June Paik artwork

The Smithsonian American Art Museum will offer a robust series of public programs to accompany the exhibition, “Nam June Paik: Global Visionary,” on view at the museum through Aug. 11. Korean-born Paik (1932-2006), known as the “father of video art,” almost single-handedly transformed video into an artist’s medium through his sculptures, installations, videotapes and television projects. Often lacing his work with humor and collaborating with artists for public performances, Paik had a major influence on late 20th-century art and his legacy continues to inspire a new generation of artists.

John G. Hanhardt, senior curator of film and media arts and the leading expert on Paik and his global influence, organized the exhibition with the assistance of Michael Mansfield, associate curator of film and media arts. Paik’s innovative spirit and playful approach to his life’s work will be celebrated in a variety of public programs ranging from scholarly lectures and gallery talks to films and family activities.

A daylong celebration of Paik’s artistic legacy, “Nam June Paik: Art and Process” is scheduled for Sunday, April 14. A symposium will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in the museum’s McEvoy Auditorium; confirmed participants include Edith Decker-Phillips, independent scholar; Stephen Vitiello, artist; Jud Yalkut, artist; Greg Zinman, independent scholar; and Hanhardt. At 4:30 p.m., Mansfield will lead a gallery talk through “Nam June Paik: Global Visionary.” From 7 to 8 p.m., Ryuichi Sakamoto, Academy Award- and Grammy Award-winning musician and composer, as well as Steina Vasulka, artist, and Vitiello to perform musical works by Paik or those inspired by the artist.

Hanhardt’s talk on Paik’s career and influence on 20th-century art, which took place Friday, Jan. 11, is available online: His discussion traces Paik’s career from early experimentations to late pioneering media art and shows how the artist transformed global visual culture.

Other programs offered during the exhibition’s presentation in Washington, D.C., are:

  • Gallery talk by Mansfield, Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m.

  • Film series, Wednesday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m.

  • Film series, Wednesday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m.

  • PaikBot Family Day presented in celebration of Korean Children’s Day, with family-friendly craft activities and music, Saturday, May 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Film series, Wednesday, May 15, at 6:30 p.m.

  • Nan June Paik’s birthday celebration, Saturday, July 20

More information on these and other programs, including additional film screenings and gallery talks, will be available online at


“Nam June Paik: Global Visionary” is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins; Barney A. Ebsworth; Marilou and Ken Hakuta; Maureen and Gene Kim; Korea Foundation; Wendy and Jerry H. Labowitz; Paula and Peter Lunder; Share Fund of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region; The Starec Trust; Roselyne Chroman Swig; and the Barbara & Howard Wise Endowment for the Arts.

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrates the vision and creativity of Americans with artworks in all media spanning more than three centuries. Its National Historic Landmark building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Museum hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. Follow the museum on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, iTunes, ArtBabble and YouTube. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Website:

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