Mina Cheon (PhD, MFA) is a Korean-American global new media artist, scholar, and educator who divides her time between Korea and the United States. Cheon has exhibited her political pop art known as “Polipop” internationally and draws inspiration from global media and popular culture to produce work that intersects politics and pop art in evocative ways. While she creates work that range in medium from new media, video, installation, performance, and public projects to traditional media of painting and sculptures, the content of the work is in historic alignment to appropriation art and global activism art. In particular, Cheon has worked on North Korean awareness and global peace projects since 2004 and appeared to the world as a North Korean artist KIM IL SOON since 2013. Just as the Korean peninsula is split, so is its contemporary artistic consciousness. Cheon practices art as both a South Korean contemporary new media artist and by contrast, a North Korean social realist painter -- who by extension of the Korean superwoman complex is also a naval commander, farmer, scholar, teacher, mother, and human being. The latest of Cheon’s grapplings with the Korean schizo-imaginary, the topics of art, motherhood, games and hope come together in a reflection upon (cult)ure, love, and education in her recent solo exhibition UMMA : MASS GAMES – Motherly Love North Korea, curated by Nadim Samman, at the Ethan Cohen Gallery in New York.
Cheon has exhibited her work and/or in the collection of the Sungkok Art Museum, Seoul Olympic Museum, American University Museum, Smith College Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland Art Place Contemporary Art Center, Insa Art Space Korean Arts Council, C.Grimaldis Gallery, Lance Fung Gallery, Trunk Gallery, and represented by Ethan Cohen Gallery. Cheon is the writer of Shamanism + Cyberspace (Atropos Press, Dresden and New York, 2009), contributor for ArtUS, Wolgan Misool, New York Arts Magazine, Artist Organized Art, and currently on the Board of Directors of the New Media Caucus of the College Art Association, as well as an Associate Editor of the peer review academic journal Media-N. Recent reviews for Media-N include critical essays covering SeMA Mediacity Seoul Biennale 2016 and the Venice Biennale 2017.
Awarded the 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Unity Week Award for her efforts promoting cultural diversity within and beyond her college, she is a Full-time Professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA); was a visiting professor and lecturer at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea; and a mentor of Art-Uni-On, a global mentorship network by Hyundai Co. and the Seoul National University College of Fine Arts. Cheon received her PhD in Philosophy of Media and Communications from the European Graduate School, European University for Interdisciplinary Studies, Switzerland; has two MFA degrees, one in painting from the Hoffberger School of Painting, MICA and another MFA in Imaging Digital Arts from UMBC: An Honors University in Maryland; and her BFA is in painting from Ewha Womans University.
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.