Skip to Content
Arts of North America

Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.

© Estate of Nam June Paik
American, born Korea, 1932 - 2006
Rose Art Memory
Wood, lacquer, aluminum framework, television monitors, video

67 x 87 x 14 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum purchase with funds provided by the
Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund

Arts of North America

Revered as the leading innovator of video art, Nam June Paik explored the relationship between people and the rapidly changing environment of the media age. Displaced by the Korean War in 1950, Paik traveled the world, residing in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Munich, and New York. Paik's experiences across the globe led him not only to realize the artistic potential of tech-
nology, but also to measure the distance from his native Korean culture.

Paik directly confronts the issues of assimilation and modernization in his two-channel video image Rose Art Memory by combining modern and traditional influences. Arranged in a grid format, 14 monitors set to one channel encircle six monitors set to a different channel. The two videos stream simultaneously, generating a pulsating and hypnotic effect. Inscribed within each corner of the traditional, red lacquer frame are the four points of the compass, thus linking the piece to a specific Asian heritage.

Created the year Seoul hosted the 1988 Olympic Games, Rose Art Memory profoundly conveys the experience of impermanence and instability within a hyper-stimulating medium. Furthermore, by juxtaposing ultramodern tech-
nology against traditional framework, Paik questions whether such extreme cultural changes will ultimately lead to the degradation of a rich history.