This exhibition explores the pioneering career of Nam June Paik (1932–2006) through the prism of his close friendships with artists, including Joseph Beuys, John Cage, and Charlotte Moorman. Negotiating his identity between East and West, Paik developed an exuberant artistic language, incorporating Asian characters and symbols of his own devising that recur throughout his multi-faceted creations. Celebrating major gifts and acquisitions from the artist’s relatives, the Hakuta family, Nam June Paik: In Character showcases the late artist’s video sculptures, altered televisions, and an array of drawings and ephemera that have rarely or never been exhibited. Together, this selection spans Paik’s early Fluxus activity and performances to his final autobiographical works, tracing his playful vocabulary across geographic boundaries and artistic media.
The ongoing care and support for the Nam June Paik Collection at SFMOMA is provided by the Hakuta Family Nam June Paik Conservation Endowed Fund.