PARAMUS – Gallery Bergen, the art exhibition space of Bergen Community College, in collaboration with the Korean Community Center of Tenafly will open “NJSeoul: New Art from the Korean Diaspora” next month at the institution’s main campus. A free opening reception will take place Thursday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. in the gallery, located on the third floor of West Hall, 400 Paramus Road. The exhibition will remain on view through Thursday, Oct. 31; regular hours are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment.
Works by 15 artists of Korean descent will include drawings, paintings, photography, prints, contemporary furniture, installation, ephemeral botanical sculpture and experimental video, examining the immigrant experience of Koreans living in the United States – including Koreans who think of themselves as Americans, first and foremost, those who have a foothold in both countries and those who have chosen or may soon choose to return permanently to Korea.
The exhibition also seeks to address how Korean culture has transformed New York/New Jersey/Bergen County while overturning many stereotypes about Korean people and their lives. According to the federal government, Bergen County contains – by percentage of the overall population – each of the top 10 municipalities in the United States for Korean-Americans. The College enrolls 357 students with Korean citizenship – the highest number of students from any country other than the United States.
Prominent artists include Joon Young Kwak, a transgender artist who grew up in Englewood Cliffs and resides in Los Angeles; Nicole Won Hee Maloof, whose “What Color Is A Banana?” video navigates the physical, social and economic realities of banana plantation workers; Sun You, a Bergen adjunct professor; Myoung Ja Lee, a floral designer from Teaneck; and Hobong Kim, a Bergen graduate.
Gallery Bergen Director Tim Blunk and Hyejeong Grenier curated the exhibition.
The Korean Community Center, the exhibition’s cosponsor, continues to deepen its relationship with the College. Since Eun-Ju Ryu took office as the group’s CEO last November, the center partnered with the institution to launch a series of lectures led by College faculty on U.S. history. Next semester, the College will also offer its first U.S. history course taught in the Korean language.