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This exhibition review was written by Sara Estes.
Like it or not, the work we do defines us. Whether we serve food, design logos, or push products into a box to be shipped across the world, we structure our days and our lives around the things we do to make ends meet.
In the latest exhibition at Coop, The Family Business of Removing the Human Element, Korean-born artist Hyeon Jung Kim delves into complex issues addressing the repetitiveness, time, and tedium often associated with manual labor. Using a specific daily job as the framework, she brings in themes of working conditions, survival, and sacrifice—and draws a connection between the work and processes of artists to those of other manual laborers.
In her early teens, Kim immigrated to the United States from Korea with her family. They relocated, like many families have and continue to do, to pursue the American Dream. After starting several small businesses, her parents finally settled on a family-run dry-cleaning business.
Sara Estes is a writer and curator based in Nashville, Tennessee. She is the gallery coordinator for the Carl Van Vechten and Aaron Douglas Galleries at Fisk University, working closely with The Alfred Stieglitz Collection of European and American Modern Art. She is also the assistant and apprentice to renowned paintings conservator Cynthia Stow of Cumberland Art Conservation. Estes is the co-founder and curator of the Nashville-based contemporary exhibition space, Threesquared. Her writing and art criticism has been featured in numerous local and national publications including BURNAWAY, Number, The Nashville Scene, Nashville Arts Magazine, and ArtNow.