Father of Video Art Paik Nam-june Dies

    January 30, 2006 21:35

    The celebrated video artist Paik Nam-june died aged 74 on Sunday. The Korean-born artist died peacefully at his apartment in Miami, Florida, around 8 p.m., with his Japanese-American wife Shigeko Kubota and a nurse at his side, the artist’s family said. Paik greatly influenced the art scene in the latter half of the 20th century, playing a critical role in lifting video into the realm of art.

    A crayon self-portrait by Paik from 2001

    Born in Seoul in 1932, Paik studied art history at Tokyo University, where he wrote his thesis on Modernist composer Arnold Schoenberg. He went to Germany to pursue his interest in avant-garde music and performance at Ludwig-Maximilians Universitaet, Munich. There, he collaborated with such artists as Joseph Beuys and met composer John Cage, whose ideas had a tremendous influence on his work.

    His debut with a solo exhibition in 1963 earned him recognition as the inventor of video art. From “TV Bra for Living Sculpture” with cellist Charlotte Moorman in 1969 to “Good Morning, Mr. Orwell,” a live interactive satellite broadcast between New York and Paris in 1984, Paik was recognized as one of the most influential contemporary artists.

    Paik is perhaps the only artist of Korean descent who gathered constant worldwide attention and exhibited at the world’s leading museums, including the Guggenheim and Whitney museums in New York, the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In 1996, Paik suffered a stroke which paralyzed the left side of his body and left him wheelchair-bound. But he continued to explore television sculpture, robotic devices and giant video walls -- staging the performance “Hommage à John Cage” as recently as autumn 2004. He won numerous awards, including Best Pavilion at the 1993 Venice Biennale.

    The funeral will take place at the Frank Campbell Funeral Chapel on Madison Avenue in New York in a few days, according to Ken Paik Hakuta, Paik's nephew and manager of the Nam June Paik Museum.

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