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Toy Stories: Souvenirs from Korean Childhood

NEW YORK, Jan. 28 -- A private collection of rare Korean toys from the
1970s and 1980s will be exhibited for the first time in the United States
at The Korea Society. Toy Stories: Souvenirs from Korean Childhood, will
open to the public on Thursday, January 31st, at 5:30 PM, in The Korea
Society Gallery, located at 950 Third Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, New

The collection features over 90 children's toys from late 20th century
South Korea -- a veritable toy box of flamboyantly colored action figures,
robots, miniature tanks and paper dolls. These "objects of desire" suggest
the soaring fantasies and fast-rising expectations of the period -- though
often through sloppily copied contemporary American and Japanese toys. As
cultural artifacts, the collection evokes an era when the hurried pace of
industrialization meant that considerations of originality and fine-design
could easily be dismissed. Still, despite their generally plagiarized
genesis, the toys effectively reinvented the characters on which they are
based, which were "Koreanized" for cartoons, commercials and comics in
ways their foreign creators never imagined. Accompanied by children's
magazines, advertisements and photos from the same period, Toy Stories:
Souvenirs from Korean Childhood tells a story of a nation in economic and
social transition. A series of animations aimed at children that were
aired on Korean TV during this period will also be shown.

The objects in this exhibition are on loan from the collection of Hyeon
Tae-Joon -- a renowned cartoonist and toy designer -- who resides in

In conjunction with the exhibition, Aaron Magnon-Park, a professor at the
University of Notre Dame, will examine the exhibition's rich background
with a lecture entitled, "Our Toys Our Selves: Robot Taekwon V and South
Korean Identity," on February 7th at 6:30 PM.

As part of its ongoing celebration of Korean toys, The Korea Society will
sponsor a screening of the 1976 animated feature, Robot Taekwon V, on
March 18th at 6:30 PM.

The exhibition will be mounted in The Korea Society Gallery located at 950
Third Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, New York. (The building entrance is on
the SW corner of Third Avenue and 57th Street.) The exhibition will be
open to the public, free-of-charge, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday
through Friday. Visit for more information.

Source: The Korea Society

CONTACT: Jinyoung Kim, Senior Program Officer, The Arts, of The Korea
Society, +1-212-759-7525, ext. 316, Fax: +1-212-759-7530,

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Posted 29 January, 2008 - 23:32 by JoshB
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