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Paik, Nam June

Korean-born composer, performer, and artist (b. July 20, 1932, Seoul, Korea [now in South Korea]-d. Jan. 29, 2006, Miami Beach, Fla.), was from the early 1960s one of Postmodern art's most provocative and innovative figures. He studied art and music history at the University of Tokyo before moving to West Germany, where he continued his studies (1956-58) at the University of Munich. In the late 1950s, while working in West German Radio's electronic music studio in Cologne, Paik met American avant-garde composer John Cage, whose inventive compositions and unorthodox ideas proved to be a major influence on Paik. His exhibition "Exposition of Music/Electronic Television," held in Wuppertal, W.Ger., in 1963, marked the first time anyone had used video as an artistic medium. The next year Paik moved to New York City and began a fruitful collaboration with avant-garde cellist Charlotte Moorman. In a well-publicized incident in 1967, Moorman, playing topless, and Paik were arrested for public indecency at the opening of his four-part Opera Sextronique. In the following years Paik made art-quality videos, including Global Groove (1973), and produced video sculptures and installations. The most notable of these were TV Buddha (1974), TV Garden (1974-78), and Family of Robot (1986). Paik's 1997 video opera performance Coyote 3 at the Anthology Film Archives in New York featured a disconcerting mixture of multiple television screens, laser lights, and smoke. Paik was honoured with a large-scale retrospective of his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1982. Starting with Good Morning Mr. Orwell (1984), he produced a number of groundbreaking live satellite-broadcast shows, emphasizing the need for communication between the East and the West through the exchange of art and culture. From the late 1970s Paik divided his time between the U.S. and Germany, teaching at the Dusseldorf State Academy of Art

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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