Wednesday April 24, 2024
Tags for: Witness the Transformative Legacy of Korean Fashion
  • Press Release

Witness the Transformative Legacy of Korean Fashion

Model walking down a runway wearing black dress
Evening Dress, Fall 2008, 2008. LIE SANGBONG (Korea, est. 1985). Lie Sang Bong (이상봉) (Korean, b. 1954). Wool. Courtesy of LIE SANGBONG. Photo courtesy of LIE SANGBONG 

New Cleveland Museum of Art exhibition offers a unique exploration juxtaposing 17th century and contemporary fashion

CLEVELAND (April 24, 2024)—Korean Couture: Generations of Revolution tells a compelling story about the history of Korean couture fashion and its transformative legacy. Ranging from 17th-century excavated aristocratic garments to contemporary Korean couture from leading and emerging Korean fashion designers, the exhibition allows visitors to explore the rich tradition of Korean dress. Featuring more than two dozen works and accompanying ephemera, it highlights the ways Korean artists and designers use fashion to elevate and challenge aspects of traditional Korean culture, while empowering contemporary designers to invent a new artistic language. Unique in its presentation, this international loan exhibition serves as a model for future shows celebrating global fashion at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA).

Korean Couture: Generations of Revolution, the first Korean fashion exhibition at the CMA and the first exhibition to focus on Korean fashion at a leading comprehensive US art museum, is free and open to the public from April 28 through October 13, 2024, in the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Gallery.

“This exhibition centers around the Korean design perspective, delineating how the contributions of Korean designers are reshaping fashion,” said Darnell-Jamal Lisby, assistant curator of fashion. “An international and universal medium of artistic expression, fashion plays an enormous role in art, culture, and politics.”

Notable contemporary works in the exhibition include dresses from André Kim; Lie Sang Bong; Lee Chung Chung, for LIE; Lee Jean Youn; and Shin Kyu Yong and Park Ji Sun, for Blindness. Historic works from the 1500s and 1600s include everyday clothing items made from silk, cotton, and paper; men’s and women’s ceremonial silk robes; jackets; and more.

“By tracing Korean fashion from the 17th century forward, we discover the ways that Korean fashion designers creatively subvert tradition and cultural norms through their artistic processes and designs to develop a path forward for the Korean fashion industry,” said Sooa Im McCormick, Korea Foundation Curator of Korean Art. “We are so grateful to our donors, partnering foundations, and leadership for their continued support of our work to share Korean art, its influences, and its culture with our visitors.”

Complementing Korean Couture: Generations of Revolution is Into the Seven Jeweled Mountain: An Immersive Experience, a free immersive digital exhibition that takes visitors on a journey through a beloved natural wonder that is now part of North Korea and isolated from most of the world. 

Complimentary Programming

Lunchtime Lecture

Korean Couture and Its Legacy

Tuesday, May 7, 2024, 12:00–1:00 p.m.

Virtual Program

Speakers: Darnell-Jamal Lisby, Assistant Curator of Fashion, and Sooa McCormick, Korea Foundation Curator of Korean Art

Come to the CMA for a quick bite of art history. Every first Tuesday of each month, join curators, conservators, scholars, and other museum staff for 30-minute talks on objects currently on display in the museum galleries.

In conjunction with Korean Couture: Generations of Revolution, the first show on Korean fashion at the CMA, the exhibition’s cocurators, Sooa McCormick, Korea Foundation Curator of Korean Art, and Darnell-Jamal Lisby, assistant curator of fashion, introduce the dynamic, innovative trajectory of Korean style from 17th-century aristocratic clothing to contemporary couture by South Korean trailblazing fashion designers who are shaping fashion’s future.

Artist in the Atrium

Couture and Craftmanship: Aimee Lee’s Mulberry-Bark Lace

Saturday, May 18, 2024, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. 

Ames Family Atrium

Every third Saturday of each month, stop by the Ames Family Atrium between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to get a firsthand look at the art-making process. Each session provides the opportunity to engage and interact with a different Northeast Ohio maker during pop-up demonstrations and activities. See their work unfold and learn how artists create. Explore a related selection of authentic objects from the CMA’s Education Art Collection in a pop-up Art Up Close session. See, think, and wonder.

Join artist Aimee Lee as she demonstrates how to make mulberry-bark lace. Visitors can witness her intricate process firsthand, delving into the ancient Korean art of papermaking and lace crafting. Through her expert guidance, participants learn the delicate techniques required to transform natural mulberry bark into ethereal lace, connecting with the rich cultural heritage of Korea.

In conjunction with Lee’s demonstration, don't miss the opportunity to explore Korean Couture: Generations of Revolution, where two of her exquisite dresses are on view. These garments not only showcase the evolution of Korean fashion but also exemplify the fusion of tradition and innovation that defines contemporary Korean couture. From the intricate details to the bold silhouette, each dress tells a story of revolution and cultural identity.

Korean Couture: Generations of Revolution Tours
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, May 7 through October 5, 2024, 3:30 p.m.
The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Gallery
Free; Ticket Required

Tours meet at the exhibition entrance. To schedule private tours for adult groups of 10 or more, please contact or call 216-707-2752. 


Major support is provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and the Korea Foundation. Generous support is provided by Ms. Judith Gerson. Additional support is provided by the Dunhuang Foundation, the Joseph M. and Bonnie N. S. Gardewin Endowment for Korean Art Exhibitions, Pamela A. Jacobson, Courtney and Michael Novak, and Mr. Ken S. Robinson.

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All exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art are underwritten by the CMA Fund for Exhibitions. Principal annual support is provided by Michael Frank and the late Pat Snyder, the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation, the John and Jeanette Walton Exhibition Fund, and Margaret and Loyal Wilson. Generous annual support is provided by two anonymous supporters, Gini and Randy Barbato, the late Dick Blum and Harriet Warm, Gary and Katy Brahler, Cynthia and Dale Brogan, Dr. Ben and Julia Brouhard, Brenda and Marshall Brown, Richard and Dian Disantis, the Jeffery Wallace Ellis Trust in memory of Lloyd H. Ellis Jr., Leigh and Andy Fabens, the Frankino-Dodero Family Fund for Exhibitions Endowment, Florence Kahane Goodman, Janice Hammond and Edward Hemmelgarn, Marta Jack and the late Donald M. Jack Jr., Carl T. Jagatich, Eva and Rudolf Linnebach, William S. and Margaret F. Lipscomb, Bill and Joyce Litzler, the Roy Minoff Family Fund, Lu Anne and the late Carl Morrison, Jeffrey Mostade and Eric Nilson and Varun Shetty, Tim O’Brien and Breck Platner, William J. and Katherine T. O’Neill, Michael and Cindy 

Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team:
(216) 707-2261