Nam June Paik (b. 1932, Seoul; d. 2006, Miami Beach) was a pioneer in the development of electronic moving images and digitized compositions as a form of creative expression. Credited with originating the term “electronic superhighway” in 1974, Paik’s complex works demonstrated enormous prescience for the influence and proliferation of digital media as an artistic medium, the global expansion of social networks, and the growing enmeshment between modern life and technology.
Organized around The Bass’ recent acquisition of Paik’s TV Cello (2003), Nam June Paik: The Miami Years offers a close examination of the artist’s connection to Miami. The exhibition uncovers the little-known history of the artist’s life in Miami Beach while exploring the innovative ways he used communication and media technologies in his work.
In the early 1990s, people arriving at Miami International Airport had the opportunity to encounter two extraordinary sculptural installations by Paik. WING, located in the Concourse B lobby, greeted viewers with almost 100 television monitors assembled in a biplane-shaped, neon frame, punctuated by a propeller. MIAMI, in front of the Customs exit doors in the lobby of Concourse E, featured 74 monitors arranged to spell out M-I-A-M-I in block letters.
In both works, the TV screens presented a mesmerizing flow of iconic images of South Florida interspersed with recognizable glimpses from around the world: palm trees, flamingos, bathers at the beach, traffic jams, Buddhist temples, molten earth, sailboats and molecules. Thousands of images, along with Paik’s unique form of “electronic painting,” combined into a dynamic cacophony flashing before travelers’ eyes.
Commissioned in 1985 by the Miami-Dade Art in Public Places Trust, WING and MIAMI were dedicated on November 29, 1990.While Paik made Miami Beach his home until his death in 2006, by the late 1990s, WING and MIAMI were no longer on public view.
With original research into Paik and South Florida, including a timeline account of the making and display of WING and MIAMI, Nam June Paik: The Miami Years will offer fresh insights into the acclaimed artist’s personal engagement with our region.
This exhibition will also include Notations, performances by contemporary artists whose practices engage with and further the experimental uses of technology found in Nam June Paik’s work.”
The museum is open Wednesday-Sunday 12pm-6pm. Admission is free for Miami Beach Residents & City of Miami Beach employees (with valid ID/proof of residence).