Spring 2022 TSF Research Residency Fellow
The research-based curator and architect Jin Kyung Cho, who is pursuing a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design at Cornell University, will conduct research in the Tony Smith Papers on a project provisionally titled Body and Scale in the Ecological Art and Architecture of Tony Smith.
Cho is the inaugural TSF Research Residency Fellow. She will be in residence with the Tony Smith Foundation in New York City from May 31–June 7, 2022.
Jin Kyung Cho is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design at Cornell University and is a research assistant at the university’s Circular Construction Lab. She earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea, in 2014. Cho has worked on and organized numerous public projects involving art, architecture, and urbanism. She was a curatorial research and production assistant for the 4th Anyang Public Art Project, titled Public Story (2012–14), where historical sites in Anyang, just outside of Seoul, were points of departure for exploring the power of storytelling. From 2016 to 2020, she worked on various projects at New York–based Obra Architects, including serving as lead architect on a multipronged project called Perpetual Spring included in the exhibition Architecture and Heritage: Unearthing Future (2019–20).
Presented at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, Perpetual Spring was positioned as an urban experiment in social interaction and community organization; housed in a temporary pavilion, this public program engaged with a host of collaborators to address issues relevant to city inhabitants.
Cho’s independent projects include participation in the exhibition Lotus Land (2017) at Asia Culture Center in Gwangju; Interlude (2017) at Insa Art Space of the Arts Council Korea in Seoul; and Heavy Benches (2018) at the Arts Council Korea Theater in Seoul. Cho’s current research is focused on the development of environmental and ecological art and architecture since the emergence of earth art in the 1960s. She is based in New York City.
Body and Scale in the Ecological Art
and Architecture of Tony Smith
Earthworks, curated by Virginia Dwan and Robert Smithson, opened at the Dwan Gallery in New York City on October 5, 1968. A few months later, Earth Art, curated by Willoughby Sharp, opened at the Andrew Dickson White Museum of Art (predecessor to the Johnson Museum of Art) at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, on February 11, 1969. Artists such as Richard Long, Dennis Oppenheim, and Robert Morris, who participated in these exhibitions, would become pioneering figures in the swiftly developing field of earth art. The “Conference on Urban Design Criticism,” held at the University of Pennsylvania in October 1958, was the historic springboard for these exhibitions and among the first to address urban design in relation to the increasing environmental challenges facing a rapidly globalizing society.
The conference featured presentations by many influential urbanists and architects, such as J. B. Jackson, Jane Jacobs, Louis Kahn, Kevin A. Lynch, and Lewis Mumford, whose writings and publications would inform the ideas of artists like Smithson, Oppenheim, Carl Andre, and, potentially, Tony Smith.
The same explorations of the body and of scale that Tony Smith applied to his large-scale sculptures of the 1960s are found in his ecological urban projects from around the same time. Yet his work in land art, with few exceptions, is absent from these discourses, even though he made several plans for environmental projects addressing ecological and urban issues. The projects were ultimately never realized. Cho’s research will study archival documentation and drawings of these projects in the Tony Smith Papers. She will focus on recovering Smith’s interests in land works and urban planning, positioning these ideas and Smith’s work in relation to then-prevalent pursuits around urbanism and earth art by other artists and a variety of city planners during the 1960s.