For American art lovers with an interest in broad social issues the globalization of the art business has had the fascinating effect of allowing us the opportunity to reflect on much of our own social history through the lens of other cultures.
Reconciling Femininity and Confucianism: Expressions of Contemporary Korean Women Artists is an excellent example of this trend. Featuring six Korean women artists, it is curated by a Korean-American woman, exhibited by an American art center situated on the Pacific rim with a history of supporting emerging, contemporary artists (and women in particular), and concerns the correlation between feminism, religion and culture in a westernizing Asian society.

Feminism, like most significant social movements in America, has largely disappeared from the public discourse: not because the cause was won or lost but because we tired of it and apparently felt that we heard and absorbed enough to move on. Here is a chance to reexamine that thinking. The explicit link between feminism and Confucianism in this exhibition is especially interesting in the context, for example, of the Southern Baptist official 1998 declaration that ives should submit gracefully to their husbands, and their decision in 2000 to effectively prohibit women from serving as pastors in their parishes.
In accepting the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize, former dissident and current South Korean President Kim Dae Jung spoke of the importance, and difficulty, of accomplishing change on the Korean peninsula. He described the delicate balance in Asia between traditional values-many of which he argues prefigure and support western-style democracy-and 21st century democratic models of governance, sustained economic development and social justice. He spoke also of his struggle to bring democracy to South Korea, an until now little-recognized, near revolutionary and civil war, which his election and subsequent initiatives have effectively ended-with potential consequences in Asia as momentous as the French and American Revolutions in the west.

Partially as a result of Kim victory, South Korea is now involved in a process of self-analysis not dissimilar to what America went through in the 1960s, when the entire nation was focused on the most basic and important civil and social questions. Reconciling Femininity and Confucianism is an engaging look at one facet of the broad social upheaval underlying the political turmoil. That is the relationship between South Korea pervasive and fundamental Confucianism and South Korean women burgeoning feminism.

While shuttling between Korea, San Francisco and Montalvo, finishing her masters degree, and continuing to work full-time in her position as a Curatorial Assistant at the Asian Art Museum, guest curator Linda Inson Choy has put together an outstanding exhibition and catalogue. I want to thank her for bringing Reconciling Femininity and Confucianism to Montalvo and congratulate her on her first solo exhibition. It has been a pleasure to work with her, and we are extremely proud to be involved, both as a venue for the exhibition and as publisher of the catalogue. Thanks also to Robert Milnes, Director of the School of Art and Design at San Jose State University, who introduced us to Linda and has done much to make this exhibition possible.

Dakin Hart
Director of Arts Programs

Montalvo

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