Michael Joo Korean-American, b. 1966


Why do we perceive as we perceive? Michael Joo’s non-linear, almost cyclical approach to his practice, together with his combination of scientific language and research, results in work that is a documentation of process. Whether chemically treated, silver-coated or photo-based, Joo’s artwork combines a range of techniques associated with sculp-ture, painting, photography and printmaking. He continues to blur the boundaries between art and science through his investigation into ontology, epistemology and entropy; creating a cross-disciplinary and multi-dimensional dialogue to engage, question, meditate and explore. By juxtaposing humanity’s various pools of knowledge and culture, Joo addresses the fluid nature of identity itself. It seems as if the artist’s intention is to achieve the unachievable: to make us see an object in real life that is barely conceivable as thought alone.


Michael Joo is an artist whose multivalent practice encompasses sculpture, painting, printmaking, photography, installation, video, and performance. Along with Do Ho Suh, he represented South Korea at the 2001 Venice Biennale, and was included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial. His installation at the National Museum of Asian Art, called Perspectives: Michael Joo, was on display from July 2016 to July 2017, and he participated in 2013’s Come Together: Surviving Sandy, curated by the Rail’s Phong H. Bui. Joo is a Senior Critic in Sculpture at Yale University and teaches in the Columbia University MFA program. His work is in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Denver Art Museum; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.