Vincent Price Art Museum Proudly Presents Kang Seung Lee: The Heart of a Hand Exhibition

March 23, 2023




Monterey Park, Calif. – The Vincent Price Art Museum (VPAM) at East Los Angeles College is proud to announce the opening of Kang Seung Lee: The Heart of A Hand exhibition on Saturday, March 25, from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Enjoy the free exhibition, specialty cocktails (for guests 21 and over) and DJ sets by dublab during our opening reception. Kang Seung Lee: The Heart of A Hand pays tribute to Goh Choo San (1948–1987), a pioneering Singaporean-born choreographer who died of an AIDS-related illness at the age of thirty-nine. Although Goh choreographed and performed for prominent ballet companies throughout Asia, Europe, and North America during his lifetime, his legacy remains largely absent from queer, cultural, and dance histories in the United States. “Kang Seung Lee’s work powerfully intervenes into the historical record to recover a key figure in both Asian diasporic and queer worlds,” said Joseph Valencia, Curator of Exhibitions. “The resulting exhibition raises compelling questions about history, queer worldmaking, and the power of art and archives to manifest new futures.”

The exhibition presents new artworks created through extensive archival research, interviews, and collaborations. A series of drawings on goatskin parchment memorialize the relationships between Goh and his loved ones, such as his late partner H. Robert Magee, friend Janek Schergen, and sister Goh Soo Khim, while also commenting on historical and bodily erasure. Similarly, texts embroidered on Sambe cloth in antique 24-karat gold thread denote both mourning and reverence, honoring what has been lost and preserving memory in the aftermath of immense personal and community tragedy. 

A central component of the exhibition is a single-channel video, created in collaboration with Joshua Serafin and Nathan Mercury Kim, that manifests a queer futurity imaginable through transnational inheritance and intergenerational memories. Loosely based on Goh’s neo-classical ballet, Configurations, commissioned by American Ballet Theater in 1981, Serafin, a Filipina dancer and choreographer based in Belgium, embodies a spectrum of emotional and physical states of belonging to express togetherness and kinship with Goh’s life and work. Likewise, KIRARA, a transgender composer and musician based in Seoul, takes inspiration from Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 38 (the score for Goh’s Configurations), to create a revitalized soundtrack for queer life and testament to the individual lives lived.

The Heart of A Hand derives its name from a poem by Mexican writer Xavier Villaurrutia (1903–1950). Woven throughout the exhibition are several passages by Villaurrutia and other artists of Goh’s generation, each transcribed in an American Sign Language font adapted by Lee from the paintings by artist Martin Wong (1946–1999). These texts, along with dried plants and seeds collected from various queer sites, draw new lines of connection among queer artists and lived experience across space and time.

About the Artist
Kang Seung Lee is a multidisciplinary artist who was born in South Korea and now lives and works in Los Angeles. His work frequently engages the legacy of transnational queer histories, particularly as they intersect with art history. Lee has exhibited his work internationally with recent solo exhibitions at Gallery Hyundai, Seoul (2021); Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles (2021, 2017, 2016); 18th Street Arts Center (2020); One and J. Gallery, Seoul (2018); Artpace, San Antonio (2017); Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (2016); and Pitzer College Art Galleries, Claremont (2015). He has also participated in major group exhibitions and biennials including 13th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (2021), and the New Museum Triennial, New York (2021). His work is in the collections of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; among others. Lee received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. He is represented by Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles, Mexico CIty and Gallery Hyundai, Seoul.

About Vincent Price Art Museum
The Vincent Price Art Museum (VPAM) at East Los Angeles College serves as a unique educational resource for the diverse audiences of the college and the community through the exhibition, interpretation, collection, and preservation of works in all media of the visual arts. VPAM provides an environment to encounter a range of aesthetic expressions that illuminate the depth and diversity of artwork produced by people of the world, both contemporary and past. By presenting thoughtful, innovative and culturally diverse exhibitions and by organizing cross-disciplinary programs on issues of historical, social, and cultural relevance, VPAM seeks to promote knowledge, inspire creative thinking, and deepen an understanding of and appreciation for the visual arts. Learn more at vpam.org. 

About East Los Angeles College
East Los Angeles College (ELAC) is the largest of nine two-year community colleges within the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD). More information about ELAC is available online at www.elac.edu. Follow ELAC on social media, Facebook @Eastlacollege, Twitter @Eastlacollege, and Instagram @ELACHuskies. Generous support for this project is provided by the Mellon Foundation and the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional support provided by the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism of Korea, Korea Arts Management Service, and the grant program Fund for Korean Art Abroad.

For VPAM or Kang Seung Lee: The Heart of A Hand exhibition press inquiries, please contact Jennifer Cuevas at 213-375-8714 or jen@jeneratemedia.com. Learn more at vpam.org