Where BTS’s RM goes, fans will flock ― and art venues aren’t complaining

by AryanArtnews
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RM, the leader of the boy band BTS, visited the retrospective exhibition of the late artist Yun Hyun Kung (1928-2007) at Palazzo Fortuney in Venice, Italy in 2019. [BTS TWITTER]

When he wasn’t writing rap or songs as a BTS leader, RM (real name Kim Nam Jun) often embarked on trips to museums and galleries, further solidifying his image as an art lover.

More importantly, he is known as one of the most influential young art collectors in South Korea. One of his collections is currently being held at the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) in central Seoul by the late artist Kwon Jin-kyu (1922-1973).

Kwon is famous for his lively terracotta and lacquer sculptures, generally depicting the faces of women, animals, and himself. Of the approximately 240 works produced by Kwon, a white horse sculpture titled “Horse” (around 1965) owned by RM was lent to SeMA for display.

Compared to other SeMA exhibitions, Kwon’s retrospective exhibition has significantly more visitors, with an average of 1,300 visitors a day, curator Han Hee-jan told Jun An Daily, South Korea.

There are many other celebrities known as art lovers, such as Big Bang’s TOP, who said in the past that he spends 95% of his income on artwork, and G-Dragon, who held his first solo exhibition. At SeMA in 2015.

However, the reason why RM is considered to have a wider influence in the art world is that he has a stronger image as a person who goes to museums than as a collector. This eventually helped art become more mainstream by attracting more people to the museum, insiders collectively told Jun Ahn Daily, South Korea.

One of RM's art collections,

One of RM’s art collections, “Horse” (c. 1965), is on display in a retrospective exhibition by sculptor Kwon Jing-gyu (1922-1973) at the Seoul Museum of Art. [SHIN MIN-HEE]

RM visited the PKM gallery earlier this year. "Eternal image: Kwon Jinaku x Moku Jung Wook" Exhibition. [RM INSTAGRAM]

RM visited the PKM gallery earlier this year for the “Eternal Image: Kwon Jinaku x Moku Jung Wook” exhibition. [RM INSTAGRAM]

Those who go to enthusiastic museums



“RM has played an important role in making traveling to museums more enjoyable,” PK Kyung-mi, founder and director of PKM Gallery, told Jun Ahn Daily, South Korea. “Initially, uploading art photos to his social media was a way to share his life with his fans. It certainly wasn’t a showcase. His visit to the museum was his life. It’s a natural part of, which encouraged fans, and ultimately the general public, to go. ”

Most museums, such as the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) and the Busan Museum of Art, are unaware that they have visited until RM posted on social media.

“He often comes to the museum, but he only comes one or two and does it quietly,” an MMCA insider told Jun Ahn Daily, South Korea. “I don’t know when he’s here. Upload the photos he visited on social media and he’ll see with everyone else.”

“Until I actually met him, I didn’t think his interest and love for art was really real,” an art gallery insider told JoongAng Ilbo. “Surprisingly, he was very serious [about art].. If RM hadn’t done music, I think he would have gone to graduate school to study art history and theory. ”

Youn Bum-mo, director of MMCA, told the Maeil Business Newspaper that he happened to have a chance to talk to RM at the museum, and was surprised that RM had “a wide range of knowledge about art.”

RM is posing next to a painting by Whanki Kim (1913-1974), a master of contemporary art, at the North Seoul Museum of Art in Seoul in 2019. [BTS TWITTER]

RM is posing next to a painting by Whanki Kim (1913-1974), a master of contemporary art, at the North Seoul Museum of Art in Seoul in 2019. [BTS TWITTER]

Year of praise



So how exactly has RM shown his love over the last few years?

Since its debut in 2013, BTS has managed a joint Twitter account, and RM sometimes uploaded photos to Twitter to show excerpts from excursions to museums and galleries. I visited various parts of the country such as Daegu Art Museum, Buk Soul Museum, Kumho Museum of Art, PKM Gallery. He visited the Palazzo Fortuney Museum in Venice, Italy, and saw a retrospective exhibition of the famous late Yun Hyun Kung (1928-2007). Monochromatic paintingOr Korean monochrome paintings.

Then, when members of BTS created their own Instagram accounts last December, RM’s feed was basically turned into an art gallery, filled with specially selected works.

In an interview with Vogue at the end of last year, he said, “I especially like Korean art after being aware of it.” [his] Later Korean identity [BTS] I started working in the United States. ” Ash “[likes] Keep something close to [his] Near heart [him]This influenced him to start buying Korean artwork.

He showed artwork on the wall of what appears to be his home, collected from artists such as Yoon, Kim Wan-ki (1913-1974), 51-year-old Jung Young-joo, and 84-year-old Kim Jung-hak. Kim Tschang-ye (1929-2021) and 65-year-old Lee Bae, Instagram.

He also posted a sign he believed he had received-85-year-old artist Lee Ufan subsequently removed from his profile.

This photo of RM hugging the moon jar made by potter Kwon Desp became a hot topic in 2019. [BTS TWITTER]

This photo of RM hugging the moon jar made by potter Kwon Desp became a hot topic in 2019. [BTS TWITTER]

Moon jar hugger



RM has gone as far as incorporating his love of Korean art into his work, or BTS-related content. In February 2021, RM was big when members published a series of drawings on how to decorate a room for fans titled “ARMY’s Room” through a post on Weverse, a fan community platform. The porcelain jar that contained the moon jar shown in white, and Savan TakujaOr a traditional Korean shelf unit that is open on all sides, with a brief description of the art.

Longtime fans already knew that RM was a fan of Moonjar when he uploaded a photo of himself hugging Moonjar made by 70-year-old potter Kwon Desp in 2019 on social media. ..

"Army room" Shown is an illustration of RM's Moon Jar and Savan Takuja in the right corner. [BIG HIT MUSIC]

In “ARMY’s Room”, an illustration of Moon Jar and Savan Takuja is drawn in the right corner of RM. [BIG HIT MUSIC]

Charm to ancient art



RM’s passion for art does not begin with contemporary art or contemporary art, but goes back to ancient art. In late January, RM posted about a trip to the “Room of Quiet Contemplation” exhibition at the National Museum of Korea. Two pensive bodhi statues, National Treasures No. 78 and No. 83, are on permanent display there.

The pensive Bodhisattva statue shows that the Buddha is immersed in deep thought.

The miniatures sold out quickly after fans saw a pastel miniature Bodhisattva statue purchased on a studio desk at a museum last June.

A miniature of a pensive Bodhisattva statue [PISYOPJ]

A miniature of a pensive Bodhisattva statue [PISYOPJ]


Increase visitors



RM is so much in the spotlight where he goes that the media even says that “the world of art in the country is divided into exhibitions that RM visited and exhibitions that RM did not visit.” Museums and galleries have revealed that the number of visitors will increase after RM’s visit.

In 2019, after the RM dropped at the Busan Museum of Art’s “Space Lee Ufan” exhibition, the number of visitors per day has quadrupled. Previously, there were only 30-50 visitors daily, but it has increased to a maximum of 210.

Jung Jung-hye, the museum’s chief curator, revealed in a Facebook post that he had met the singer. He praised RM’s extensive knowledge of contemporary Korean art, citing examples of Mono-ha art movements and mono-ha paintings led by Japanese and Korean artists in the late 1960s.

Since then, RM has visited the Busan Museum of Art several times. This is unprecedented for a celebrity, and an insider at the museum told Jun Ahn Daily in South Korea.

“His recent visit was during Solral’s vacation. [Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 this year], And he saw our exhibition on Christian Boltanski, “she said. Boltanski (1944-2021) was a French artist.

“Every time he stops, we get more visitors and attention on social media and receive comments from people who want to visit,” continued the insider. “But from what I know, RM is the only celebrity who comes to our museums often. There aren’t many celebrities because it’s far from Seoul, but RM is very loyal. I am grateful that more and more people are interested in art. ”

“The fact that he is willing to travel far to see many different artworks shows how passionate he is in art,” said Park, director of the PKM gallery. Added.

Donated to the National Museum of Contemporary Art in 2020, RM was used to reissue eight out-of-stock art books. [MMCA FOUNDATION]

Donated to the National Museum of Contemporary Art in 2020, RM was used to reissue eight out-of-stock art books. [MMCA FOUNDATION]

Well-read donations



RM made a generous donation to MMCA on its 26th birthday in September 2020. This also helped to increase the attention to art. Through a press release, MMCA said it asked MMCA to donate 100 million won ($ 81,000) to fund the publication of more art books.

At that time, MMCA announced that it would reissue eight discontinued art books. Since then, about 4,000 books have been distributed to about 400 locations, including public libraries and schools in islands and mountainous areas where museums are rarely visited.

A set of republished art books such as Kim Jung-seob and Lee Jung-seob (1916-1956) headed to the art library of the Gyeonggi Province government, which RM visited in January this year. The public library has thousands of art books published by major museums such as MMCA and SeMA, as well as rare books.

Earlier this year, RM posted a photo of himself reading a book at the Gyeonggi Province Art Library. [RM INSTAGRAM]

Earlier this year, RM posted a photo of himself reading a book at the Gyeonggi Province Art Library. [RM INSTAGRAM]

RM's handwritten notes and photographs are on display in the donated book section of the Uijeongbu Art Library. [ART LIBRARY OF UIJEONGBU]

RM’s handwritten notes and photographs are on display in the donated book section of the Uijeongbu Art Library. [ART LIBRARY OF UIJEONGBU]

After fans learned that RM’s donated collection of books had landed on the shelves, the library said a surge of people were visiting the library and asking where they were. On Naver and YouTube, fans posted RM’s handwritten notes and photos and videos of Instagram photos he’s reading in the library. Both are stored in the bookshelves of the library. Currently, RM’s books are in the Donated Books section.

“Apart from everything else, I’m grateful that RM is particularly interested in art,” said Han, the curator of SeMA. “I remember seeing Kwon’s” Bust “Z when I was little.” [1967] Although sculpting in school textbooks, the younger generation these days may not know much about Kwon and his work. But now, the main people at RM are once again aware of art and are investigating it. ”

Shin Mini, Moon Soyun [[email protected]]

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