Mina Cheon (천민정 PhD, MFA) is a Korean-American new media artist, scholar, and educator who divides her time between Seoul, South Korea, Baltimore, and New York. Cheon has exhibited her political pop art known as “Polipop” internationally. Polipop draws inspiration from global media and popular culture and makes work that intersects politics and pop in subversive and provocative ways. In particular, the artwork focuses on geopolitical and contested spaces and political pop icons while responding to Asia’s relationship with the Western world in global media culture. The work is expressed in diverse mediums such as new media, video, installation, and performance as well as traditional media such as paintings and sculptural objects. Assuming different artistic pseudonyms during the past twenty years such as Minaliza1000 and M-1000, Cheon’s latest avatar and alter ego is Kim Il Soon, a North Korean artistic persona who is a social realist painter. Cheon has worked on the theme of North Korea, with emphasis on North Korean women since 2004 when she visited the mystical Kumkangsan Mountain and has continued to produce what she calls DPRK Polipop for considering Korean unification and global peace.
Cheon’s Solo exhibition includes: “Happy North Korean Children” at Trunk Gallery, Seoul (2014), “Choco·Pie Propaganda” at Ethan Cohen New York Gallery, NY (2014), “Polipop and Paintings” at Maryland Art Place, Contemporary Art Center, Baltimore (2012), “Polipop: Political Pop Art” at Sungkok Art Museum, Seoul (2012), “Addressing Dolls” at C. Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore (2008), “Dizz/placement” at Insa Art Space, Art Council, Seoul (2005), and “Groundless” at Lance Fung Gallery, New York (2002). Group exhibition includes showing at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, DC (2014), the Seoul Olympic Museum of Art, Seoul (2013), St. Mary’s College Boyden Gallery, MD (2013), Korean-American NY Film Festival at Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Art Gallery, NY (2013), The Korus House of The Korean Embassy, DC (2010), Art in Embassies Exhibition at the United States Embassy of Korea, Seoul (since 2009), Kaohsiung Museum of Art, Taiwan (2003), and Fine Arts Center of Korean Culture and Arts Foundation, Seoul (2000). Cheon’s work is in the permanent collection and/or archive of the Smith College Museum of Art (MA), Sungkok Art Museum (Seoul), Maryland Art Place (Baltimore), Hirshhorn Museum Video Collection (DC), SSamzie Art Collection (Paju), and EVR e-ﬂux video rental at Museum of Modern Art (Ljubljana).
As an educator, Cheon is a full-time professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and was awarded the 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Unity Week Award at MICA for her efforts promoting cultural diversity within and beyond MICA. She currently teaches a range of courses in foundation, electronic media, and liberal arts and for the past decade taught other various courses in graphic design, interactive media, art history, and cultural theory as well as directing international educational programs such as founding of the program MICA KOREA in 2004. Cheon received her PhD in Philosophy of Media and Communications from the European Graduate School, European University for Interdisciplinary Studies, Switzerland, and published her book Shamanism + Cyberspace (Atropos Press, NY and Dresden, 2009) that was adapted from her dissertation. Her recent publication includes “The Konglish Critique” in Beyond Critique (Maisonneuve Press, MD, 2013) and she has been a writer for art magazines and journals such as ArtUS (LA), NY Arts Magazine (NY), and Wolgan Misool monthly art magazine (Seoul). Cheon is a correspondent and board member of Artist Organized Art (NY), board member of New Media Caucus, an affiliate society of the College Art Association (USA), and associate editor of its academic journal Media-N. Cheon has two MFA degrees, one in painting from the Hoffberger School of Painting (1999), MICA and another MFA in Imaging Digital Arts from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (2002). Her BFA is in painting from Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea (1996), where she was a visiting professor in 2011 and lecturer since 2010.
Awarded a significant art commission from the Mayor’s Office and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, Cheon with architect Gabriel Kroiz, installed “Diamonds Light Baltimore,” for Light City Baltimore in 2016. Together they have taught and worked on art and design projects in Baltimore and Seoul, Korea for over a decade, with variations of the diamonds project exhibited in Seoul Korea, Doha Qatar, Chestertown MD, and most recently in Georgetown DC.