North Korean Art Goes Commercial
The unifying thread in this show is that all works are by artists in North Korea ... and have been approved by the DPRK's Ministry of Culture, according to exhibit director Li Xuemei. Because information doesn't flow easily across the border, the exact origins of the pieces and details of the artists are unknown, but Li says to CNN, "Ours are surely authentic artworks from DPRK."
There has been no shortage of interest in the display. Li's gallery, which is showing the works of 20 North Korean artists associated with Pyongyang museums and art institutions, sees up to 100 visitors a day on the weekends and 60 a day during the week.
Li observes, "Many people chose to collect this art because North Korea is a country still closed to the outside world, although it is seeking to open up in the future." The exhibit director continues, "This makes North Korean artworks a good investment. Some artists have already passed away, making their work more unique and valuable."
The artists themselves, of course, don't realize any upside from the sale, Li tells CNN. Art isn't private property in North Korea, which means that the sale proceeds go to the state.