What the New York Art World Is Missing - Hyperallergic

What is striking about Jiha Moon’s work is that it does not quite fit into the New York art world’s current concerns with racial and ethnic identity because, as far as I can tell, this art world has never addressed issues of Asian cultural dislocation.
by John Yau
January 11, 2020

Big Lipsearthenware, underglaze, glaze
12.5 x 12 x 7.5 inches

I first met Jiha Moon in 2000 when she was a graduate student in the MFA program in fine art at the University of Iowa. Although she seldom shows in New York, I have tried to keep up with her career. In 2012, Moon was awarded a working artist’s grant from the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, which she used to sign up at a local clay studio in Atlanta and create imaginative, nonfunctional, vessel-like forms that humorously combine aspects of Western and Eastern culture. In 2014, she showed a group of these at Ryan Lee Gallery, but she has not shown in New York since. This is why I was interested in the exhibition Jiha Moon: Enigmatics at the Project Room of Derek Eller gallery (January 4 – February 2, 2020). Moon, who was born in Daegu, South Korea in 1973, came to America after she had received a BFA and MFA in Korea in the late 1990s. She was in her mid-20s when she moved to America, where she has lived and worked for the past 20 years. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that her life could be divided into two distinct periods. It is possible for someone born in another country to move to the US and, culturally speaking, become American. But it becomes harder as each year passes, as more and more of your birth country, culture, and language become part of you; you share collective experience with others of your generation. You don’t get to start over when you relocate to a new country with a different language, culture, and customs, even though that is exactly what you must do.

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Review: Cultural collision and cuteness abound in Jiha Moon’s solo show - AJC.com, December 2018

By Felicia Feaster

Atlanta-based, South Korean-born artist Jiha Moon’s paintings look like contained explosions, the world blown to smithereens. There’s the suggestive tang of gunpowder in the air and billowing smoke seems to dissipate as we contemplate her manic miasmas of color and form.

But look closely at Moon’s works painted on glossy Mylar, and all is not destruction and chaos. Instead there are folk tales and familiar apparitions emerging from the fog: beasts and sprites, dragons and fish, twisting trees and peeping eyeballs watching us as we watch them.

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Future Fossil, Other Vessel - The Brooklyn Rail, June 2016

by Anthony Hawley

A Whisper of Where it Came From

MARCH 11 – JULY 24, 2016


MARCH 15 – MAY 22, 2016

In 2016 we’re trying to make sense of our monuments. Broken monuments, unfaithful monuments. Bloated monuments, impaired monuments. Monuments erasing centuries of history, strangely self-satisfying Facebook monuments flashing solidarity with victims of some far-off tragedy. On May 10, 2016, Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (INR) announced the removal and relocation of nearly 500 Soviet monuments. Debates continue to flare across the southern United States over the elimination of Confederate flags and statues like the life-size one of a staunch confederate soldier in the Mason-Dixon border city of Rockville, Maryland.

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In Survey of Southern Art, Place Is the Space - Hyperallergic, September 2014

by Rob Colvin, September 5, 2014

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee — Jiha Moon was one of several artists the critic John Yau would like to have seen at the Whitney Biennial this year and didn’t. She was curated, instead, by Nandini Makrandi, at the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga. On view now is the third regional invitational the museum has hosted to feature significant works being made in its proximity. The artists are Jan Chanoweth, Alicia Henry, Phillip Andrew Lewis, Jiha Moon, Jeffrey Morton, Greg Pond, Martha Whittington, and Jered Sprecher.

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FOREIGN LOVE TOO – ArtAsiaPacific, Febrary 2014

by Lilly Lampe

Questions of cultural appropriation abound in Jiha Moon’s “Foreign Love Too,” her second solo exhibition at Ryan Lee Gallery (formerly Mary Ryan Gallery) in New York. In paintings, works on paper and ceramics, pop culture, art historical references and icons from the East and West collide, often fusing into hybrid symbols. These visual signifiers become inextricably linked, indicating that when cultures meet, rather than clashing, they meld, raising complicated issues of complicity.

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Review: Jiha Moon’s “tae kwon do” art ebulliently melds East, West, high and low - Arts ATL, September 2013

By Stephanie Cash, September 17, 2013

“If someone threatens you and you strike a tae kwon do pose, even if you don’t know tae kwon do, they’ll think you do because you’re Asian,” says Jiha Moon. “My work does a similar thing.”

Like many artists who create work outside their native cultures, the 40-year-old Korean-born artist incorporates elements of her original and adopted homes in complex, multivalent works rich with symbolism and intrigue. Asian motifs — peonies, fiery dragon heads and calligraphy — share space with piñatas, the Starbucks mermaid, the Tiger Balm tiger and Martha Stewart scrapbooking stickers. Birds play a big role as well, from Angry Birds, lovebirds and the “Hecho en Mexico” Aztec eagle to Audubon-worthy specimens. Moon layers materials and metaphors in order to upend stereotypes and cultural assumptions, mixing East and West, high and low, fact and fiction.

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