Juror’s statement

With the naming of Byron Kim as the recipient of the Korea Arts Foundation of America’s third annual Award for the Visual Arts, the Foundation has built upon its fine record of previous years.

The program, national in scope and international in meaning, is intended to award excellence in the visual arts by recognizing and supporting the work of artists of Korean ancestry who are residents or citizens of the United States.

The award reflects the Foundation’s efforts to foster cross-cultural understanding through the arts in the global world of the 1990s. This year’s awardee, Byron Kim, stood out in the field of exceptional artists we considered. He emerged as the awardee for the consistently clear resolution of his art, its thoughtfulness and integrity, its sure visual impact, its deft technical execution, and its provocative intellectual content.

Kim’s monochromatic abstract paintings and three-dimensional objects surely participate in the modern Western tradition of abstraction and its aesthetics. Yet his work also involves many layers of meaning including perceptual, social, political, and bodily aspects of contemporary life. Because the colors Kim uses often are derived from the many colors of human skin, his art carries vast implications about race and identity and the commonality of all peoples. His work prompts serious reflection about such issues by all who view it.


Howard N. Fox, Curator of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Noel Korton Curator, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

Roland Reiss, Chairman, Graduate Program, Claremont Graduate School Art Department Claremont, California


Byron Kim (born in 1961 in La Jolla, California) is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. In the early 1990s he produced minimalist paintings exploring racial identity. He graduated from Yale University in 1983 where he was a member of Manuscript Society.