Nam June Paik is explaining <Magnet TV> for the broadcast of <CBS Sunday Morning>, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1982
Photo: Paul Garrin. Nam June Paik Art Center Archive Paul Garrin Collection.
Born in Seoul in 1932, Paik spent his middle-school days in Seoul and Hong Kong, and his high-school days in Kamakura, Japan. He studied aesthetics in the University of Tokyo, with a graduation thesis on Arnold Schönberg. Moving to Germany in 1956 and studying European philosophy and modern music, he came to work actively with contemporary avant-garde artists and began to carve out his artist-identity by doing radical performances which were completely different from artistic canons and conventions back then. Afterwards he pursued a novel path of art making by means of new media. His media art gained momentum by his first solo show Exposition of Music—Electronic Television in which he presented televisions with inner circuits modified and manipulated, as a work of art.
In 1964 Paik migrated to the U.S. where he developed his video art in full swing. Not only producing video images, he combined them with sculptures and installations, and even created a video synthesizer, a machine to process images. His incessant exploration about music and the body was also a key factor in constructing a distinct territory of his art. From the 1980s Paik realized a series of global projects, such as Good Morning, Mr. Orwell, to tear down barriers between avantgarde art and popular culture by satellite TV technology. He won the Golden Lion of the 1993 Venice Biennale for his work on the theme of artist as nomad in the German Pavilion. Later on he expanded his technological realm into other media like laser, and while suffering a stroke since the mid-1990s, he never ceased to take his artistic step forward until he passed away in Miami in 2006.
Paik is a pioneering media artist working with various technologies in experimental ways. He saw the artist’s role as consisting in thinking about the future and sought for better ways of global communication through art. Regarded as “one of the forerunners of a new breed of artists who are scientists, philosophers and engineers at the same time” and as “a very special and genuine genius and futurologist with foresight,” Paik still lives on right here as “the most contemporary artist” today.
Tiger Lives, a satellite live broadcast as part of DMZ 2000: The Millennium Celebration on January 1st.
The Worlds of Nam June Paik, a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, New York and the Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul.
Given the National Arts Club Award.
Awarded the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize.
Transmission, an exhibition at the Rockefeller Center, New York, showcasing Transmission Tower.
Passed away in Miami on January 29th
Beuys Vox 1961-86, an exhibition held at Gallery One and Gallery Hyundai, staging a shamanistic ritual A pas de loup, a memorial performance for Joseph Beuys.
Awarded the UNESCO Picasso Medal.
Nam June Paik: Video Space and Video Time, the first retrospective in Korea, at National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Participated in the German Pavilion of the 45th Venice Biennale, with Hans Haacke, and won the Golden Lion.
Performed A Tribute to Charlotte Moorman in SeOUL-NYmAx: A Celebration of Arts without Borders.
Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, a travelling exhibition across the U.S.
Curated and participated in Info Art ’95, the first Gwangju Biennale.
Played a founding role in opening the Korean Pavilion in the Venice Biennale.
Baroque Laser at St. Mariä Himmelfahrt, Dyckburg-Kirche, Münster.
Awarded the 6th Fukuoka Arts and Culture Prize.
Awarded the Hoam Art Prize.
Suffered a stroke.
Presented 32 Cars for the 20th Century: Play Mozart’s Requiem Quietly in Skulptur Projekte Münster.
Set to work on Three Elements.
Awarded Goethe-Medaille für Kunst und Wissenschaft.
Nam June Paik: Fluxus/Video, a retrospective at Kunsthalle Bremen.
Listed as the eighth of the 100 most prominent artists in the world by the magazine Capital.
Named among the 25 most influential artists in the 20th century by the magazine ARTnews.
Laser Video, an exhibition in cooperation with Horst Baumann at Staadtischen Kunsthalle Düsseldorf.
Premiered Symphony No. 6 in Begegnung mit Korea, WDR, Köln.
Wrote “Random Access Information.”
Awarded the Will Grohmann Prize of Akademie der Künste, Berlin.
Nam June Paik, a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, staging a car accident of Robot K-456, called the “first catastrophe of the 21st century.”
Good Morning, Mr. Orwell, the first satellite project, broadcast live worldwide on the New Year’s Day via the networks of WNET New York and FR3 Paris.
Appeared in the TV show, bei Bio, at ARD Berlin.
Performed Coyote III with Joseph Beuys at Sogetsu Hall, Tokyo.
Nam June Paik—Mostly Video, the first retrospective in Asia, at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.
Nam June Paik—Art for 25 Million People at Daad Galerie, Berlin.
Participated in Ars Electronica, Linz.
Performed MS-Fluxussus in Museum Insel Hombroich, Neuss.
Staged Young Penis Symphony in the exhibition Die 60er Jahre: Köln Weg zur Kunstmetropole at Kölnischer Kunstverein.
Bye Bye Kipling, the second satellite project broadcast live worldwide.
Wrap Around the World, the final piece of the satellite trilogy, broadcast live worldwide.
The More the Better, consisting of 1,003 TV monitors permanently installed at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.
Nam June Paik: Video Works 1963-88, a solo exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London.
Nam June Paik at Galerie Weisses Haus, Hamburg.
Completed Paik-Abe Video Synthesizer, supported by WGBH and the Rockefeller Foundation, and used it for the first time for Video Commune, a four-hour live broadcast.
Invited as lecturer in California Institute of the Arts.
Participated in Vision & Television, a group exhibition at Rose Art Museum, New York.
Wrote “Global Groove and Video Common Market.”
Artist in Residence at TV Lab, WNET New York.
Participated in Sonsbeek ’71 held in Sonsbeek Park, Arnheim.
Presented TV Cello and premiered A Concerto for TV Cello and Videotapes, at Galeria Bonino, New York.
Participated with Jud Yalkut in Video-Film Concert at The Kitchen, New York, and showed Video Tape Study No. 3 and Cinema Metaphysique No.1-5.
A Tribute to John Cage broadcast at WNET New York.
Completed Global Groove.
Nam June Paik: Videa ‘n’ Videology 1959-1973, a solo exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art, New York
Electronic Art IV, a solo exhibition at Galeria Bonino, New York, and presented TV Sea.
Participated in the symposium Open-Circuits: The Future of Television at MoMA New York.
Global Groove broadcast at WNET New York.
Participated in Projekt ’74 at Kunsthalle Köln, and presented TV Buddha.
Wrote “Media Planning for the Postindustrial Age: The 21st century is now only 26 years away.”
Presented TV Garden in the exhibition Video Art at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.
Presented Fish on sky—Fish hardly flies anymore on the sky —Let fishes fly again, at Martha Jackson Gallery, New York.
Broadcast Suite 212 at WNET New York.
Performed Fluxus Sonata IV at Anthology Film Archive, New York.
Participated in the 12th Annual Avant-Garde Festival of New York, and performed Zen for Walking for the last time.
Moon is the Oldest TV, a solo exhibition at Rene Block Gallery, New York.
Filmed Guadalcanal Requiem in the Solomon Islands.
Nam June Paik: Werke 1946‐1976: Musik‐Fluxus‐Video, a solo exhibition at Kölnischer Kunstverein.
Married to Shigeko Kubota, a Fluxus and and video artist
Showed Guadalcanal Requiem and performed Opera Sextronique in the event From Jail to Jungle at Carnegie Hall, New York.
Nam June Paik: Werke 1946‐1976: Musik‐Fluxus‐Video, a solo exhibition at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.
Staged performances in Kassel Documenta 6: Satellite Telecast with Joseph Beuys and Douglas Davis.
Invited as professor in Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
Nam June Paik: Video Garden, a solo exhibition at Centre Pompidou, Paris.
A Tribute to John Cage, an exhibition at Watari Gallery, Tokyo.
Performed Piano Duet in Memoriam George Maciunas with Joseph Beuys at Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
Nam June Paik, a retrospective at Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Organized and produced Visa(Peace Correspondence) series at TV Lab, WNET New York
You Can’t Lick Stamps in China, broadcast as part of Visa series at WNET New York.
Premiered Étude for Pianoforte at the atelier of Mary Bauermeister.
Met the Fluxus artist George Maciunas.
Participated as an action composer in Originale and premiered Étude Platonique No. 3, Zen for Head and Simple, at Theater am Dom, Cologne.
Premiered Zen for Walking on the streets of Cologne.
Composed “Symphony for 20 Rooms.”
Participated in Neo-Dada in the Musik at Kammerspiele Düsseldorf.
Participated in Fluxus International Festival of the Newest Music in Wiesbaden and performed One for Violin, etc.
Mementos of the 20th Century(Erinnerung an das 20 Jahrhundert): Marilyn Monroe presented at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf.
Met Uchida Hideo and Shuya Abe in Japan.
Performed Fluxus Champion Contest in Festum Fluxorum Fluxus: Musik und Antimusik – Das Instrumentale Theater, at Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
Exposition of Music—Electronic Television, the first solo exhibition at Galerie Parnass, Wuppertal.
Wrote “Postmusic: The Monthly Review of the University for Avant-Garde Hinduim – New Ontology of Music.”
Produced Robot K-456.
Moved to New York and met Charlotte Moorman.
Premiered Robot Opera with Robot K-456 at the 2nd Annual Avant-Garde Festival of New York, organized by Charlotte Moorman and held in Judson Hall.
Purchased a Sony Portapak recorder.
Electronic Video Recorder, a screening event at Café au Go Go, New York.
Nam June Paik: Cybernetics Art and Music, a solo exhibition at New School, New York.
Electronic Art I, a solo exhibition at Galeria Bonino, New York.
Presented Zen for Film, etc. in New Cinema Festival I at the Filmmakers Cinematheque, New York.
Premiered Variations on a Theme by Saint-Saens with Charlotte Moorman at Philadelphia College of Art.
Premiered Opera Sextronique with Charlotte Moorman in the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen.
Artist in Residence at Bell Labs(until 1968).
Arrested on a charge of public indecency during the performance of Opera Sextronique with Charlotte Moorman at the Filmmakers Cinematheque, New York.
Participated in Cybernetic Serendipity: The Computer and the Arts, a group exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London.
Wrote “Expanded Education for the Paperless Society.”
Artist in Residence at WGBH Boston and produced 9/23/69: Experiment with David Atwood.
Electronic Opera No. 1, a broadcast as part of The Medium is the Medium, WGBH, Boston.
Presented Participation TV and TV Bra for Living Sculpture in the exhibition TV as a Creative Medium at Howard Wise Gallery, New York.
Set to work with Shuya Abe on Paik-Abe Video Synthesizer.
Moved back to Korea, left Busan for Kobe at the outbreak of the Korean War, and lived in Kamakura.
Admitted to College of Humanities and Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo.
Graduated from Dept. of Aesthetics and Art History, the University of Tokyo, with a thesis on Arnold Schönberg.
Moved to Germany and admitted to Dept. of Philosophy, the University of Munich, and studied musicology and art history.
Met Karlheinz Stockhausen at the International Summer Courses for New Music, Darmstadt.
Studied music from Wolfgang Fortner at Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, and composed his first string quartet.
Met John Cage and Yun Isang during the International Summer Courses for New Music, Darmstadt.
Frequented WDR Electronic Music Studio where Karlheinz Stockhausen worked.
Premiered Hommage à John Cage at Gallery 22, Düsseldorf.
Admitted to Gyeonggi High School.
Developed an interest in 20th century new music and Arnold Schönberg, through pianist Shin Jae Deok and composer Lee Geon Woo.
Composed his own pieces such as After Many Many Days and A Song(Hyangsu).
Moved to Hong Kong, admitted to Royden School.
Born on July 20th in Jongno, Seoul, as the youngest of five children of Paik Nak Seung and Jo Jong Hee.
List of Paik’s audioworks
Paik’s documentary video works
List of Paik’s single channel video works
List of Paik’s film works
List of performances by Paik
List of solo exhibitions by Paik
List of group exhibitions by Paik
List of interviews with Nam June Paik
Bibliography (magazines & newspapers)