Nam June Paik

  • Born 1932 in Seoul, South Korea
  • Died 2006 in Miami, FL, USA

Nam June Paik is considered a leading pioneer in video art. During the Korean War (1950–1953), his family immigrated to Japan, where Paik studied at the University of Tokyo. His dissertation focused on the German Expressionist composer Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951), an influential composer and music theorist. Paik then studied at Munich University, where he met artist-composer John Cage (1912–1992), Fluxus co-founder George Maciunas (1931–1978), and performance artist Joseph Beuys (1921–1986). Paik participated in the Fluxus group, performing in “Fluxfests” in September 1962. The following year, his landmark exhibition Exposition of Music-Electronic Television was held at the Galerie Parnass, Wuppertal, Germany. In 1964 Paik moved to New York City, where he focused on the use of television and video. At this time, Paik also collaborated with cellist Charlotte Moorman (1933–1991), blending classical music with contemporary art. Paik taught at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (Dusseldorf Art Academy) from 1979 to 1996; his work is in important collections worldwide and has been exhibited internationally since 1962, including the Whitney Biennial (1977; 1981; 1983; 1987; 1989); Documenta, Kassel (1977; 1987); and the Venice Biennale (1984; 1993). South Korea awarded him the Gold Crown, Order of Cultural Merit in 2007.