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BTS’s RM Talks About His Growing Influence And Appreciation of Art – ARTnews



RM, the 27-year-old leader of Korean pop group BTS, has become an avid enthusiast, collector, and promoter of contemporary art.

In just the last few months, RM was featured on Intersections: The Art Basel Podcast and he and the other members of BTS partnered with Google to show off their favorite artworks embedded into Google Street View at a location of their choice.

Last month, ARTnew published a feature detailing the wide impact RM has had on art institutions in the US by using his Instagram to feature major museums like the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. That followed news that RM and his bandmates would be focusing on solo activities for the foreseeable future. 


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Portrait of Helene Love-Allotey.

As RM set out on this next phase of his career, the pop star spoke with ARTnews over email to discuss the growing role of art in his life, how he chooses which exhibits and institutions to check out, and the difference between visiting museums as RM, the working professional, vs. Kim Namjun, the individual. 

The text below has been edited for length and clarity. 

ARTnews: Some people use their Instagram as a kind of diary. What’s your relationship to your Instagram? Does it have a specific purpose for you?

 RM: I think young people these days use their Instagram feed to represent themselves. From profile introduction, hashtags, and the pictures they take at a certain place, every detail speaks for who they are and it’s one of the best platforms for self PR and branding. When I want to get to know someone, I often look through their feed, but I try not to judge the book by its cover.

 My Instagram account is literally “just an archive” about myself. I’m sure that people are familiar with RM as a public figure on stage…This is an archive for both RM and Kim Namjun, and I’m also doing it for myself in the future.

AN: How have you incorporated visual arts into your daily life?

RM: I think the most interesting part is that I tend to interpret nature or simple objects through the “lens of art.” ‘That’s a cypress tree in Vincent van Gogh’s paintings’ or ‘That’s Giorgio Morandi’s bottle.’ Thoughts like these come into mind.

AN: What do you make of your influence in the art world?

RM: As one of many art enthusiasts, I just want to visit great exhibitions when I get a chance and share with people so they can enjoy them as well.

BTS’s RM Talks About His Growing

BTS’s RM (center) on a tour of the Rothko Chapel in Decemeber 2021 with communication and visitor engagement manager Will Davison (left) and director of programming and community engagement Ashley Clemmer (right).

Courtesy of the Rothko Chapel

AN: When you spoke at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in September of last year, you said you wanted to return again as the human being Kim Namjun. What’s the difference between visiting these institutions as RM versus Kim Namjun?

RM: Responsibility comes first in public occasions. To purely enjoy the art, I would make a personal visit. I feel happiest when I’m at an art exhibition as an individual. 

AN: You’ve spoken about how going to exhibits has become part of your new normal and has helped bring you a sense of balance. What was it like for you during the times in the pandemic when museums and galleries were shut down?

RM: Even during the pandemic, many museums and galleries have been operated reservation based, so I could visit them for most of the period. However, I felt helpless when some of my favorite places shut down for months as if I had been a frequent visitor for quite a while. It’s incredible how you can adapt to something so quickly.

AN: How do you pick where you go? How does choosing where to go for something like your road trip after BTS’s Permission to Dance On Stage, Los Angeles residency differ from deciding what art to see in your daily life in Korea?

RM: I tend to choose an exhibition that is featuring my favorite artist, or a place that I’ve been curious about, e.g. The Guggenheim Museum and the Glenstone Museum. In Korea, I visit museums that feature the artworks of modern and contemporary Korean artists. When I’m abroad, I choose based on the space and artists themselves.

AN: Many of the institutions you visit have work by Korean artists, either permanently or on exhibition while you visit. Is the experience of seeing Korean art while working abroad different from your frequent trips to see exhibits of Korean art in Korea?

RM: I like to think about how different spaces give the artwork a different energy and feeling. When seeing works of Korean artists in foreign countries, nationality doesn’t count so much. But I can definitely say that seeing Yun Hyong-keun’s works at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice and exhibited alongside Donald Judd’s works at the Chinati Foundation left me in awe.

AN: Some of the places you’ve gone, like the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, are especially hard to visit. Do you have a bucket list, or do you respond to where your work takes you?

RM: There are so many private museums and collections run by the world’s top collectors or local communities in the U.S. and Europe that I would love to visit. I guess it depends on how far I can go at the time. But, for special places like Chinati, I would always try my best to make it work.

AN: Would you do another art road trip like the one after BTS’s 2021 LA concerts again? Do you have any specific places in mind?

RM: I would love to do it again when I get a chance. I would like to visit places I haven’t been to so far.

AN: When you talk about art, you often discuss timelessness, the longevity of careers, and work that outlives an artist after they’re gone. Is there something about painting and sculpture that feels more permanent or eternal to you than your own artistic field?

RM: Music also has ever-lasting power when we think about musicians such as Beethoven, Bach, The Beatles and Bob Dylan. But I personally feel eternity on a deeper level in another field, not related to my profession. 

AN: Your extensive knowledge of specific artists and visual arts generally has come up repeatedly [when talking to people about your influence on art]. What advice do you have for your fans or others who are interested in learning more about art, but don’t know where to start?

RM: I would advise to start by visiting nearby national/public museums or small galleries. When it comes to contemporary art, some people find it more difficult because they don’t know how to approach the works or interpret them as the works tend to be more conceptual. (I find it difficult sometimes, too.) But the viewing experience, taste, and inspirations solely depend on the viewers. Once you develop your own taste and know what type of art or artist you like, you will have better eyes in discerning them. What’s more, you may have a deeper understanding of yourself, too. I think this is the most intriguing part about art.

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Micro galleries highlighting MMIWG stories aim to reconcile through knowledge and art –



When Sheila Joris stumbled upon a colourful display of books at her local Ikea store, the artwork on the fabric book covers immediately caught her eye.

What peaked her curiosity was the names of several missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) from across Canada were printed in bright gold letters on the books. 

Upon further research, the Strathroy, Ont., business owner was “astounded” to learn the number and stories of women and children whose families never heard from them again. It inspired Joris to showcase the display at the front window of her downtown store, KYIS Embroidery, to create more awareness.


“It’s just a way of me showing that I care,” she said. “Some of these families didn’t get any help to find their loved ones and I think it’s really sad. Their stories deserve to be heard.”

Joris’s shop is one of many spaces throughout the country taking part in the Canadian Library (TCL) project. A micro gallery art installation that aims to raise awareness around the MMIWG crisis. 

WATCH | Business owner Sheila Joris expresses why she cares about the stories of MMIWG:

Strathroy business owner showcases MMIWG stories in her storefront window

23 hours ago

Duration 0:46

Sheila Joris of Strathroy, Ont., shares her reaction when she found out the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and the stories of families who were impacted.

“The only way we’re ever going to achieve any sort of reconciliation and break down barriers is once there’s education for everyone and it starts by having these important conversations,” said Shanta Sundarason, a Toronto-based activist leading the grassroots project. 

Since they started their efforts in October 2021, participants have collected book donations of any genre. They order fabric covers designed by Indigenous artists, each one with the name of a missing or murdered Indigenous woman or girl.

More than 8,000 books have been collected so far. Ultimately, they’ll be pooled together and displayed at a national museum or gallery by the end of this year, Sundarason said, adding that she wants them to be an educational tool to memorialize the lives lost.

It’s going to take a lot to build up trust between settlers and Indigenous people.– Shanta Sundarason, founder of TCL

Sundarason, who came to Canada from Singapore 12 years ago, felt a responsibility as an immigrant to educate herself and others on the stories of residential school survivors and the systemic discrimination that many Indigenous people still face, she said. 

“To find out that there’s so many people in a country like Canada who still don’t have clean drinking water was very horrifying and there’s been so much that’s happened to these communities,” she said.

“It’s going to take a lot to build up trust between settlers and Indigenous people who have been trying for decades to tell us the stories of what they’ve been through.”

TCL is displayed at every Ikea store in Canada, as well as at cafés and hospitals, and more recently at the York Region District School Board, Sundarason said. 

A collective step toward reconciliation, says elder

TCL has received overwhelming support from Indigenous elders. At first, many of them were skeptical of the project but eventually provided their guidance to its team, Sundarason said. 

In Calgary, TCL is spearheaded by linda manyguns, a Blackfoot woman from Siksika Nation in southern Alberta who uses only lower-case letters for her name to acknowledge the Indigenous struggle for recognition.

Also Mount Royal University’s associate vice-president of Indigenization and decolonization, manyguns said she was fascinated by TCL’s inclusiveness and its ability to bring the MMIWG crisis to the forefront in a way that centres on their family members’ voices.

linda manyguns is the associate vice president of Indigenization and decolonization at Mount Royal University.
The associate vice-president of Indigenization and decolonization at Mount Royal University, linda manyguns, says she was fascinated by TCL’s inclusiveness and its ability to bring the MMIWG crisis to the forefront. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

“There’s a huge chasm of emptiness between the Canadian society in general and the Indigenous experience,” she said.

“People need to understand that these are not bad women — they’re just encased in a social context that’s been created due to the colonial perspectives and placements of Aboriginal people and as a result, it puts them in situations which make them vulnerable.”

TCL creates a place for the MMIWG’s memories to live, while also giving Indigenous artists a platform to shine since the artwork attracts all kinds of people, manyguns said.

“It’s a collective step toward reconciliation because it’s an an ethical third space where people can come together to work together and create new frontiers. The only way that we can make change is through knowledge.”

She hopes TCL can motivate enough people to come together and create change so more names aren’t added to the list of missing Indigenous women and girls.

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Previously unreleased concept art shows more of the delayed Mary Poppins ride planned for EPCOT at Walt Disney … –



A former Walt Disney Imagineer has posted concept art for the postponed Mary Poppins ride that was previously announced for EPCOT.

Unreleased Mary Poppins ride system concept art

The new art shows an overhead plan view of the attraction, including the preshow area, the ride system, and the exit.

Unreleased Mary Poppins ride system concept art

As speculated at the time of the ride’s announcement, the ride is a teacup-style spinning flat ride, taking place in a show building with decorated backgrounds.

Unreleased Mary Poppins ride system concept art

Announced at the 2019 D23 EXPO, the expansion to the United Kingdom pavilion was to add an entirely new neighborhood at the pavilion, complete with a ride. In the plans, guests would step in time down Cherry Tree Lane past Admiral Boom’s house, then enter Number 17, home of the Banks family, where their adventure would begin.

Disney officially announced that the United Kingdom Pavilion expansion was paused in July 2020 as the park reopened from the COVID-19 shutdown. In addition to pausing Mary Poppins, Disney also put a halt to the Spaceship Earth update.

Mary Poppins attraction poster and concept art

The last official comment on the Mary Poppins ride for EPCOT came from then Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who said in response to a question at the 2022 Shareholder Meeting, that the project is in a holding pattern currently, but looks forward to refunding the Mary Poppins ride in the future.

A lot has changed at Disney since then, and it remains to be seen if the Mary Poppins expansion at the United Kingdom pavilion in EPCOT will be built.

Mary Poppins attraction poster and concept art

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Security guard, schoolgirl, Snow White … the artist who films herself undercover – The Guardian



What to do if a new colleague is over touchy feely when they greet you in the office? Or if a trainee sits staring into space all day doing “brain work”? Finnish artist Pilvi Takala specialises in orchestrating such awkward situations, in a mission to test how we navigate social conventions. “I think discomfort is a very productive space,” she says when we speak on Zoom before a show of her video installations, aptly titled On Discomfort. “It’s where we reassess and negotiate norms.”

Wearing a disguise and an assumed identity, Takala has upset the workings of theme parks, corporations, shopping malls and even the European parliament, exposing the tacit rules that govern our capitalist system. The videos of her in action are often funny. In Real Snow White, she tries and fails to get into Disneyland Paris dressed as the cartoon character. A guard says: “You cannot go to the park like this because the children will think you are Snow White. There’s a real Snow White in the park.” Takala replies: “I thought the real Snow White was a drawing.”

But Takala’s performances, videos and installations are underpinned by serious social inquiry. Her practice explores the shifting fault lines of what is considered acceptable behaviour and why, from the perspective of insider and outsider. In 2018’s The Stroker, where she pretended to be a wellness consultant at Second Home, a hip Hackney co-workplace for entrepreneurs, people were clearly conflicted about whether they were entitled to find her touchy greetings invasive; they increasingly gave her a wide berth as she passed. For 2008’s The Trainee, Takala was an intern for a month at the consulting firm Deloitte, where her apparent inaction – spending entire days either “thinking” or just going up and down in the lift – made her co-workers angry and frustrated, even though they themselves were frequently going through the motions of working while in fact browsing the internet. Both films reveal a progression of behavioural responses by workers who soon find non-conformity threatening and “weird”. “It’s very human to create these strict normative systems that we all follow and we feel in a way good when we’re inside,” says Takala, “but of course it’s mega oppressive.”


The artist’s performative interventions have become more complex over the past two decades. Where her early works often consisted of films of one-off performances, she has subsequently experimented with hidden cameras and re-enactment of actions that have taken place over days or weeks. Last year’s ambitious multi-channel video installation Close Watch was the result of six months working under cover as a security guard for Securitas at one of Finland’s biggest shopping malls. Presented at the Finnish pavilion for the 2022 Venice Biennale, it reflected on the opaque parameters of authority exercised by private companies over citizens. The films are presented in two rooms separated by a one-way police mirror, emphasising the unequal power dynamic of our surveilled existence.

Close Watch

Takala’s role at Securitas required four weeks of training. She was eventually outed two weeks before the end of her stint by colleagues who had Googled her. After she finished at the firm, Takala invited her former workmates to join her in workshops with specialised actors to role play problematic issues she had encountered on the job. The films of these workshops form the gripping centrepiece of the installation, showing the guards acting out and debating scenarios involving the use of excessive force by a colleague, toxic masculinity in the control room and the casual ubiquity of racist jokes.

In one particularly disturbing sequence, the group watches three actors re-enact a situation in which a guard manhandles a drunk member of public. In a lively discussion afterward, the guards are pretty much unanimous that loyalty to colleagues would take precedence over pursuing justice for a victim. But as they rationalise and wrestle with these dilemmas and their own accountability, they take on board different views. “We’re allowed to interfere with other people’s basic rights,” concedes one guard, adding, “It’s frighteningly easy to abuse. I’ve seen people work in this field only to hurt others.”

Observing this open dialogue within the safe space of the workshops is partly what makes Close Watch so powerful and moving; it feels like a constructive template for addressing similar problems in society at large, rather than simply rehashing well-worn criticisms of the underpaid and under-regulated security industry. That said, Takala hopes her work will have an impact on guarding at Securitas. “It’s not like we change everything and it’s happy ever after,” she says. “But I wanted to engage with this industry from a hopeful place.” The company has since instituted diversity and unconscious bias training for all employees, which may or may not be a result of suggestions she made after working there.

Takala’s infiltration of social communities began in 2004 while on an exchange at the Glasgow School of Art. She was struck by the coexistence of two self-contained groups – that of the Glasgow art students and that of the nearby Catholic girls’ school – whose different attire created a glass wall between them. She decided to investigate what would happen if she donned the school uniform, effectively switching tribes. “There’s a lot of heavy taboos hanging over this uniform, even though I wasn’t doing anything illegal or, to me, ethically problematic,” she says. Suddenly she found she was accepted by the pupils and ignored by her fellow art students. “I had the wrong dress code, I was invisible,” she explains. Her ruse was discovered when a teacher told her off for wearing the wrong scarf. The Glasgow School of Art was furious and failed her paper, but Takala remained adamant that the strong response to her action proved its success.

Since then Takala has put numerous social groupings under the microscope: she has played an overdressed wallflower at a traditional dance event in Estonia; carried a transparent bag full of cash around a shopping mall – to the consternation of shoppers and shopkeepers alike – and wandered around the European parliament in T-shirts printed with texts highlighting the institution’s inconsistent dress policy.

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Does she ever get embarrassed? “I have those same feelings as anybody would in those situations, but they’re actually information for me that it’s working,” Takala says. Her social experiments involve intense emotional labour – “I get a lot of rejection,” she notes. But it’s exhilarating when she senses that something is working: “I feel like it’s very awkward. These people don’t like what I’m doing now. Great!”

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