SMoCA prepares to showcase ‘Mimi O Chun: It’s all cake’

Posted 6/3/21

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art announces the second exhibition to open in PROJECT SPACE, which will be the first solo exhibition of Mimi O Chun.

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SMoCA prepares to showcase ‘Mimi O Chun: It’s all cake’


The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art announces the second exhibition to open in PROJECT SPACE, which will be the first solo exhibition of Mimi O Chun.

“Mimi O Chun: It’s all cake,” will be on view Sept. 4 through Jan. 23, 2022 as the sculptures by New York-based artist and designer Mimi O Chun will be featured at SMoCA’s PROJECT SPACE, an initiative presenting new work by emerging and established contemporary artists.

The artist’s new works, created during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, "recontextualizes existing vernacular used in popular culture to reveal truth" about values collectively adopted, perpetuated and created, according to a press release.

Artist Chun is best known for her 20-plus years of design experience in brand and product creation for companies such as Airbnb, General Assembly and IDEO, while simultaneously identifying the “aesthetically pleasing and critically disturbing ways in which our world functions,” the release said.

Her soft sculptures, design innovation and witty socio-political commentary on various media platforms is described in the release, noting how  Lauren R. O’Connell, SMoCA curator of contemporary art, met the artist.

She was introduced to her  sculptures and online presence through the artist's sister Miro Chun, who is a friend and Phoenix artist.

“I was immediately taken with Mimi’s poignant use of desirable imagery and materials in combination with her critical assessments of popular culture," said Ms. O’Connell in a prepared statement.

"This is an artist who has primarily been recognized in design and foodie circles, and I knew that her vision and artwork needed to be shared with a larger audience in the art world and beyond. She has proven to be a true professional and constant generator of ideas. I feel that her timely work will resonate with many people.”

Ms. Chun’s works aim to capture moments reflecting “the world in which we live,” the release said, detailing the past year when life and culture were halted by the pandemic, forming a new reality of life “lived though distanced online experiences.”

Likewise, the works created for the exhibition “It’s all cake” were made by the artist in response to the past year and speaks of online consumption, where fun gimmicks distract from deeper issues, the release noted.

“This body of work was produced over the past year and a half, during a particularly disruptive trifecta of events: a global pandemic, a polarized political climate and a civil uprising for racial justice,” said Ms. Chun in a prepared statement.

“While frontline workers serviced the public, social distancing and shelter-in-place orders kept the rest of us at home, tethered to our laptops and phones around the clock.

The same social media ecosystem that brought us momentary relief in the form of TikTok dances and hyperrealistic illusion cakes also forced us to collectively confront unspeakable police brutality in the murder of George Floyd. These cultural, political, and economic winds formed a perfect storm that have exposed and exacerbated the structural inequities of a late capitalist economy.”

Her practice is said to point out the complicity in which “pop culture and life itself can be a fever dream of real-time news and Instagrammable moments.”

Additionally, her more playful works, provides elements of socio-political commentary.
As a first-generation Korean American, Ms. Chun is impacted by racialized violence in this country, specifically with the recent rise in Asian hate crimes, the release said.

One of her new works mixes selfie equipment with a body camera for civilians and bystanders — a gesture to consider one’s own actions and social responsibility, the release added.