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Works in U-Ram Choe: New Urban Species Exhibition
Mimic Living Organisms

NASHVILLE, TENN – (January 13, 2010) – The Frist Center for the Visual Arts will feature seven works by Korean kinetic artist U-Ram Choe in an exhibition opening to the public Feb. 19, 2010. U-Ram Choe: New Urban Species will be on view in the Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery through May 16, 2010.

U-Ram Choe’s kinetic sculptures are made of delicately curved sections of wrought metal, joined together in movable parts that are driven by motors to expand, contract, or otherwise suggest the autonomic motions—such as breathing or swimming—of such primitive life forms as plants and single-celled aquatic creatures. The intricate workmanship and graceful movements of these mechanical sculptures offer viewers an unparalleled visual delight.
U-Ram Choe. Urbanus Female Larva, 2006. Scientific name: Anmopista volaticus floris uram.
Etched stainless steel, light-emitting diodes, cable, CPU board, circuits, motors, and custom software,
20 x 24 x 24 in. Edition of 10. Courtesy of the artist and bitforms gallery nyc. Photo by David Plakke

Evoking new developments in genetic engineering, prosthetic technologies, and robotics, these graceful and disturbing works propose the existence of new species that, while constructed of inorganic materials and powered by light and electricity, mimic the behavior and appetites of living beings.

In an elaborate pretense of the field of natural history, the artist has allegedly discovered
these “anima-machines” living in hidden spots in the modern metropolis. In playful allusions to the methodologies of biologists or botanists from the Age of Discovery, Choe uses a Latin nomenclature in titling the creatures, and provides detailed pseudo-scientific descriptions of their habitats and behaviors.

“Choe’s work is compelling, mesmerizing and a bit unsettling,” said Frist Center Chief Curator Mark Scala. “As you view the sculpture, the charm of his gently undulating and unfolding organic shapes gives way to the recognition that today, actual botanical, animal, and mechanical hybrids are under development by bio-engineers who may be less concerned with the unintended consequences of manipulating nature than with seeing how far they can expand the boundaries of life,” he said. The works in U-Ram Choe: New Urban Species have profound philosophical implications that invite consideration of the subject of life’s origins, evolution, and future.

Born in 1970, U-Ram Choe lives in Seoul, Korea. He has had solo exhibitions at The Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan, and bitforms gallery in New York. His work also been exhibited at the Shanghai Biennale, Seoul Museum of Art, Samsung Museum, Sungkok Art Museum, Busan’s Metropolitan Art Museum, Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Bologna, Seoul Olympic Art Museum, and Seoul Forest Open Air Sculpture Symposium. Choe’s works are in the Crow Collection, Sungkok Art Museum, and the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, and the Manchester Art Gallery.

Frist Center Exhibition-Related Program

Friday, February 19 Artist’s Perspective: U-Ram Choe: New Urban Species
12:00 p.m.
Meet at the information desk
Free with purchase of gallery admission
Join South Korean artist U-Ram Choe as he leads an informal conversation about some of his work presented in New Urban Species, on view in the Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery. This program is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Exhibition Credits

The 2010 Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery Exhibition Sponsor is Welling LaGrone and Morgan Keegan.

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., is an art exhibition center dedicated to presenting the finest visual art from local, regional, U.S. and international sources in a program of changing exhibitions. The Frist Center’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery features more than 30 interactive stations relating to Frist Center exhibitions. Gallery admission to the Frist Center is free for visitors 18 and younger and to Frist Center members. Starting Jan. 2, 2010, Frist Center admission is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for seniors, military and college students with ID. College students are admitted free Thursday and Friday evenings, 5–9 p.m. Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more with advance reservation by calling (615) 744-3247.The Frist Center is open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. and Sundays, 1–5:30 p.m., with the Frist Center Café opening at noon. Additional information is available by calling (615) 244-3340 or by visiting our Web site at

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