YOUNG JOON KWAK (b. 1984 in Queens, New York) is a Los Angeles-based multi-disciplinary artist working primarily through sculpture, performance, video, and collaboration. Kwak's work aims to change how we view our bodies by reimagining their form, functionality, and materiality—from static and bound to pre-inscribed power structures, to an expanded sense of bodies and their environs as mutable and open-ended. Kwak is the founder of Mutant Salon, a roving beauty salon/platform for experimental performance collaborations with their community of queer, trans, femme, POC artists and performers. Kwak is the lead performer in the electronic-dance-noise band Xina Xurner. Performances and exhibitions include: the Hammer Museum, The Broad, REDCAT, and ONE National LGBT Archives, Los Angeles; Regina Rex and Smack Mellon, Brooklyn; Southern Exposure, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Pavillon Vendôme Centre d’Art Contemporain, Clichy, France; the Art Museum of the National University of Colombia, Bogotá; and Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff Centre), Alberta, Canada. Kwak was the Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in Summer 2018. Kwak was recently awarded the Rema Hort Mann Foundation’s Artist Emerging Artist Grant and the Art Matters Grant. Kwak received an MFA from the University of Southern California, an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Kwak's work has been reviewed in Artillery Magazine, ARTFORUM, Hyperallergic, and LA Times, among others.

 

SELECT SOLO & COLLABORATIVE EXHIBITIONS:

[Forthcoming] Solo Exhibition, Cloaca, San Francisco, CA. 2018

The Cave. Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta. 2018

CAVERNOUS. Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), CA. 2018

Hermy. Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles, CA. 2017

Mutant Salon: Exorcises. Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles, CA. 2016

Born Again [Again]. Satellite, Seoul, Korea. 2014

Mother Spill. Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles, CA. 2014

Mutant Salon: Who Are Worth Our Love. Gayle & Ed Roski MFA Gallery, USC, Los Angeles, CA. 2014

Slow Dance (collaboration with Christopher Richmond). Gayle & Ed Roski MFA Gallery, USC, Los Angeles, CA. 2013

Mutant Salon: Beautython. Gayle & Ed Roski MFA Gallery, USC, Los Angeles, CA. 2012

Un-Body/Rite of Trans-Mortality . Happy Dog Gallery, Chicago, IL. 2012

Eating Without a Face. Roxaboxen Exhibitions, Chicago, IL. 2010

Tears From My Pussy. University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. 2010

 

SELECT PERFORMANCES:

[Forthcoming] Wattis Institute, San Francisco, CA. 2019

[Forthcoming] Out Of Turn, Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa, India. 2018

Xina Xurner y Nueve Voltios. Art Museum of the National University of Colombia, Bogota. 2018

de la Calle (collaboration with Rafa Esparza in Los Callejones). Institute of Contemporary Art, LA. 2018

Performing Sculpture (collaboration with Matt Savitsky). Shoot The Lobster LA. 2017

Burn Slow. The Box, Los Angeles, CA. 2017

Where I am My Mother, Where My Mother is Me. Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. 2017

Mutant Salon: Festival De Las Muertas. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA. 2016

Xina Xurner (Shapeshifters). Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles, CA. 2016

We Make Each Other Beautiful. The Broad, Los Angeles, CA. 2016

Xina Xurner. Pavillon Vendôme Centre d'Art Contemporain, Clichy, France.

Attack Sustain Release Decay. Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. 2015

N (enter) S (collaboration with Morgan Lee Gerstmar). LACE, Los Angeles, CA. 2014

Mutant Salon. REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA. 2014

Xina Xurner & Narcissister.  Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. 2014

Mutant Salon. CALARTS, Valencia, CA. 2014

Xina Xurner. ACRE Projects, Chicago, IL.  2011

Death Rites. Roxaboxen Exhibitions, Chicago, IL. 2010

 

SELECT GROUP EXHIBITIONS:

2019 (Forthcoming)

Queer California: Untold Stories, Oakland Museum of California, CA.

Show Me as I Want to Be Seen, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA.

2018

[Forthcoming] Out Of Turn, Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa, India.

Dae-Bak Super Cool, Torrance Art Museum, CA.

take care, Gas. Los Angeles, CA.

Commonwealth & Council. 47 Canal, NY, NY.

Demolition WoManhood. Skibum MacArthur, Los Angeles, CA.

NO LONGER YOURS (Curated by The Mistake Room). Anonymous Gallery, Mexico City.

All Hands on Deck. Ben Maltz Gallery, OTIS College of Art & Design, Los Angeles, CA.

2017                                                                     

Body + Camera Festival. MANA Contemporary Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Ours Is A City Of Writers (curated by Suzanne Hudson, Simon Leung, James Nisbet). Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

2016

My Skin is My Krustle (Pink Marble). Guggenheim Gallery, Chapman University, Orange, CA.

24 Hour Charlies, Los Angeles, CA.

Mystery Theater Sports Bar. Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, CO.

Shapeshifters (curated by Tim Goosens). Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles, CA.

(Signal) (curated by Alexis Heller). Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY.

FUCK! Loss, desire, pleasure. One National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, CA.

2015

Mystery Theater Sports Bar. Machine Project, Los Angeles, CA.

The Last Five Years. The Nightingale, Chicago, IL.

All The Instruments Agree. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA.

Make Over. Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA.

In a Plain Brown Wrapper (Ten-year retrospective exhibition of Chances Dances, curated by Oli Rodriguez). University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Outfest Platinum Showcase. REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA.

Et Autres Identités… Pavillon Vendôme Centre d'Art Contemporain, Clichy, France.

AmazoNIGHT. Three Days Awake, Los Angeles, CA.

2014

The New [New] Corpse. Sector 2337, Chicago, IL.

Outfest Platinum Showcase. REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA.

2013

Demolition Woman. Guggenheim Gallery, Chapman University, Orange, CA.

Slippery Slope. Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL.

2012

Suitable Video. Regina Rex Gallery, NY, NY

All Good Things Become Wild & Free. HF Johnson Gallery of Art, Carthage College, Kenosha, WI.

The Dragon is The Frame: Inspired by the Life and Work of Mark Aguhar. Gallery 400, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL

2011

Space In, Space Out.  Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, IL

My Own Worst Enemy: Portraits of Self-Multiplicity. Milwaukee Ave. Art Fair, Chicago, IL

Please Touch the Artwork. Chicago, IL.

2010

Black & White & Read All Over. NP Contemporary Art Center, New York, NY.  

Objects & Personification.  Chicago Filmmakers.

 

AWARDS:

Emerging Artist Grant, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, New York, NY. 2018

Art Matters Grant, Art Matters, New York, NY. 2016

Artist Community Engagement Grant, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, New York, NY. 2016

Teaching Fellowship, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA. 2015

Neely Macomber Travel Prize, USC, Los Angeles, CA. 2014

3Arts Residency Fellowship, 3Arts Foundation, Chicago, IL. 2012

Critical Fierceness Grant, Chances Dances, Chicago, IL. 2011

Ox-Bow Scholarship for Sculptors, Joan Mitchell Foundation. 2011

Artist Project Grant, University of Chicago. 2010

Research Travel Grant, University of Chicago. 2010

CAAP (Community Arts Assistance Program) Grant, Department of Cultural Affairs, Chicago, IL. 2008

Bergen County Artists’ Guild Award, Department of Parks, Hackensack, NJ. 2002

 

TEACHING:

Visiting Faculty, Cross-Disciplinary Performance. California Institute of the Arts, Department of Fine Arts, Valencia, CA. Winter 2017

Visiting Faculty, Performance for the Camera. California Institute of the Arts, Department of Fine Arts, Valencia, CA. Winter 2017

Lecturer, Intermediate Sculpture. University of California, San Diego, CA. Fall 2017

Visiting Faculty, Performance: Performing Objects. California Institute of the Arts. Department of Fine Arts, Valencia, CA. Winter 2017

Visiting Faculty, Video: Documenting: Performing Objects. California Institute of the Arts, Department of Fine Arts, Valencia, CA. Winter 2017

 

LECTURES & PANELS:

Visiting Artist Lecturer, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. 2017

Panelist, Breaking Boundaries:  Shifting the Landscape, Social Agency Beyond Aesthetic Provocation, ArtBo: Fin De Semana, Bogota. 2018

Panelist, Artistic & Curatorial Strategies of Activism, Representation, & Collective Space, The Feminist Art Project Convening, MOCA LA, CA. 2018

Visiting Artist Lecturer, CALARTS, Valencia, CA. 2017

Visiting Artist Lecturer, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA. 2017

Guest Lecturer, UCSD, CA. 2017

Panelist, Contemporary Sculpture Panel, International Sculpture Conference, Kansas City, MO. 2017

Visiting Artist Lecturer, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA. 2017

Guest Lecturer, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY. 2017

Guest Lecturer, University of California, Los Angeles, CA. 2016

Guest Lecturer, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA. 2016

Panel Moderator, The Limits of Sculpture (Panel with Suzanne Hudson & Megan Luke). USC, Los Angeles, CA 2013

Guest Lecturer, Contemporary Art Workshop. University of Chicago, IL. 2010

 

WRITINGS:   

“Mark Aguhar.” Brooklyn Rail. July – Aug, 2016.

“Salon Talk: A Conversation with Patrick Jackson.” Bad at Sports. September 17, 2013

“Salon Talk: A Conversation with Michael Ned Holte.” Bad at Sports. July 9, 2013

 

RESIDENCIES:     

Summer Artist-In-Residence, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), CA. 2018

Ragdale Residency, Lake Forest, IL. 2012                                                           

Ox-Bow Fall Arts Residency, Saugatuck, MI. 2011

Harold Arts Residency, Chesterhill, OH. 2011

ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions), Steuben, WI. 2010

 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

“Young Joon Kwak at Walter Phillips Gallery.” Maeve Hanna, Akimbo. 2018

“Young Joon Kwak: Mutant Dreaming.” Ceci Moss, CURA. 28. 2018

“Beautiful Mutant: Young Joon Kwak.” Yxta Maya Murray, Artillery Magazine. 2018

“Embodying and Rebodying With Young Joon Kwak.” Jad Dahshan, Chicago Maroon. 2018

“Critic's Pick: All Hands On Deck.” Jeanne Dreskin, Artforum. 2018

“Critic's Pick: Young Joon Kwak.” Meg Whiteford, Artforum. 2017

“5 Art Shows to See in L.A. This Week.” Catherine Wagley, LA Weekly. 2017

“Summer Happening at the Broad: Mutant Salon Saved the Evening.” Yxta Maya Murray, Artillery. 2016

“In ‘Shapeshifters’, Artists Explore the Always-Fluid World of Identity.” Alicia Eler, Crave Online. 2016

“Mutating The Broad with Mutant Salon” Alicia Eler, Crave Online. 2016

“Art that Slows Down How We Assess Gender.” Zachary Small, Hyperallergic. 2016

“Review: Mutant Salon at Commonwealth & Council.” Sharon Mizota, LA Times. 2016

“Art Los Angeles Contemporary Art Week.” Víctor Albarracín, Terremoto. 2016

“9 Truly Avant-Garde Musicians You Should Add To Your Playlist Right Now.” Priscilla Frank, Huffington Post. 2015

“Review: Makeover.” Mary Anne Kluth, Art Practical. 2015

“Young Joon Kwak’s Trans/Feminine Visions.” Alicia Eler, Hyperallergic. 2014

Mutant Salon/Xina Xurner interview with Carol Cheh & John Tain, Performance Now, KCHUNG. 2013

“Review: Young Joon Kwak & Josh Minkus at Happy Dog Gallery.” A-J Aronstein, New City. 2012

“In Flux Samples: An Interview with Young Joon Kwak.”  Caroline Picard, Art21. 2011

“Young Joon Kwak and Doomsday.”  Caroline Picard, Lantern Daily. 2010

 

EDUCATION:

Master of Fine Arts, University of Southern California, Roski School of Art & Design.  2014

Master of Arts in the Humanities, University of Chicago.  2010

Bachelor of Fine Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  2007