Share Your #CMAchaekgeori Inspired “Shelfie”!

The CMA’s exhibition Chaekgeori: Pleasure of Possessions in Korean Painted Screens, on view through November 5, showcases a unique type of Korean still-life painting called chaekgeori (pronounced check-oh-ree), translated as “books and things.” These paintings depict bookshelves lined with artfully arranged scholarly objects, exotic luxuries, symbolic flowers, and gourmet delicacies.

Books and Scholars’ Accouterments (chaekgeori), late 1800s. Yi Taek-gyun (Korean, 1808–after 1883). Ten-panel folding screen, ink and color on silk; each panel: 197.5 x 39.5 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund, 2011.37

During the exhibition’s final weeks, the CMA invites you to share a “shelfie” by posting an image of your own bookshelf on social media with the hashtag #CMAchaekgeori, along with a short description of the objects or books pictured for a chance to have your post featured in a follow-up blog on Fri, 11/3!

Personal bookshelves offer a glimpse into our lives. Perhaps your shelf features family photos or souvenirs, or maybe it’s lined with college textbooks or children’s picture books. Whatever objects are displayed on your shelf, ultimately they’re a snapshot of your daily life in that moment.  

See below for some examples of CMA staff #shelfies, and share yours with #CMAchaekgeori:

“Moving necessitates taking a long, hard look at one’s book collection because of the inevitable task of lugging heavy boxes. Since my husband and I relocated recently to Cleveland, the books on our shelves are truly our favorites. The subject matter is mostly art, which is a joint passion; feminism and feminist art, which is tied to my fiber art practice; and car culture and photography, which are at the heart of his artistic practice. In the spirit of chaekgeori, we have long mixed objects in with our books, like old photography equipment (namely a timer and a camera) from his family business; an embroidery by Canadian artist, Kate Jackson; a Singer container for sewing notions; a Wizard of Oz trinket; a Bob Dylan fan club metal badge; and Russian nesting dolls from the MoMA Design Store.” – Heather Saunders, Director of Ingalls Library at the Cleveland Museum of Art

“Among my bookshelves, this one is designated to store books on Korean history and art mainly written in Korean. I used many of these books for my dissertation, Comparative and Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Chinese and Korean Court Documentary Painting in the Eighteenth Century. You can read the brief summary of my dissertation here. At some point, my bookshelves also began to display my daughter’s toys and her Lego sculpture. Now my daughter’s own bookshelves are growing very fast!” – Sooa Im McCormick, Assistant Curator of Korean Art

“Taking this photo made me think about bookshelves as a self-portrait of sorts, and here’s mine:  messy working shelves with piles of articles and books for exhibition research within reach of my desk; water-smoothed, pale blue stones I collected from the shallows of Lake Titicaca; a spiky red Spondylus shell bought from a woman on the beach near Trujillo (Peru); a finely pyro-engraved gourd from a tourist shop in Lima; a tiny, ceramic Christian cross draped with a Pre-Columbian tunic, a gift after my first show of ancient Andean textiles at the Brooklyn Museum.  On top is a 35-year-old philodendron that a friend gave me when I lived in New York, where I bought the shelves. – Susan Bergh, Curator of Pre-Columbian and Native North American Art

“The shelves above my workspace are filled with a variety of “books and things” reflecting the nature of my work  here at the CMA. Books on everything from child development to art historical vocabulary are mixed in with stacks of colored paper, academic journals, pencils, and name tags. My co-workers are reflected here too— plastic animals, a ceramic Buddha, and other trinkets from their travels around the world have a prominent place right above where I sit to inspire a smile in the middle of a workday! - Hajnal Eppley, Dept. Director of Gallery Teaching and Teen Programs


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