Young Joon Kwak (b. 1984 in Queens, NY) is a LA-based multi-disciplinary artist working primarily through sculpture, performance, video, and collaboration. Kwak's work aims to transform our perception of bodies by reimagining their form, functionality, and materiality—from static and bound to pre-inscribed power structures, to an expanded sense of bodies and their environs as mutable and open-ended. Kwak is the founder of Mutant Salon, a roving beauty salon/platform for experimental performance collaborations with their community of queer, trans, femme, POC artists and performers. Kwak is the lead performer in the electronic-dance-noise band Xina Xurner. Performances and exhibitions include: the Hammer Museum, The Broad, REDCAT, ONE National LGBT Archives, and Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles; 47 Canal, Regina Rex, and Smack Mellon, NYC; Wattis Institute, Southern Exposure, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Antenna Space, Shanghai, China; Pavillon Vendôme Centre d’Art Contemporain, Clichy, France; the Art Museum of the National University of Colombia, Bogotá; Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, Alberta, Canada. Along with Mutant Salon, Kwak was Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) during Summer 2018. Kwak received the Rema Hort Mann Foundation’s Emerging Artist Grant in 2018, and the Art Matters Grant in 2016. Kwak received an MFA from the University of Southern California, MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago, and BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Kwak’s work has been reviewed and featured in Artforum, ARTnews, Artillery Magazine, BOMB Magazine, Hyperallergic, and LA Times, among others.




“Young Joon Kwak by Charles Long.” Issue # 147, BOMB Magazine. 2019

“15 LA Artists to Watch.” Maximilíano Durón and Alex Greenberger, ArtNews. 2019

“Review: Young Joon Kwak.” Erik Benjamins, Andrew Berardini, Ginger Carlson, Tao Fei , Maeve Hanna, Catherine de Montreuil, Ryley O'Byrne, Daniella Sanader, Canadian Art. 2018

"Critic's Pick: Young Joon Kwak & Mutant Salon at LACE." Andy Campbell, 2018

Beautiful Mutant: Young Joon Kwak.” Yxta Maya Murray , Artillery Magazine. 2018

"Critic's Pick: Young Joon Kwak." Meg Whiteford, 2017

“Summer Happening at the Broad: Mutant Salon Saved the Evening.” Yxta Maya Murray, Artillery Magazine. 2016

“In ‘Shapeshifters’, Artists Explore the Always-Fluid World of Identity.” Alicia Eler, Crave Online. 2016

“Mutating The Broad with Mutant Salon” Alicia Eler, Crave Online. 2016

“Art that Slows Down How We Assess Gender.” Zachary Small, Hyperallergic. 2016

 “Review: Mutant Salon at Commonwealth & Council.” Sharon Mizota, LA Times. 2016

“Art Los Angeles Contemporary Art Week.” Víctor Albarracín, Terremoto. 2016

“9 Truly Avant-Garde Musicians You Should Add To Your Playlist Right Now.” Priscilla Frank, Huffington Post. 2015

“Young Joon Kwak’s Trans/Feminine Visions.” Alicia Eler, Hyperallergic. 2014

“Review: Young Joon Kwak & Josh Minkus at Happy Dog Gallery.” A-J Aronstein, New City. 2012

“In Flux Samples: An Interview with Young Joon Kwak.”  Caroline Picard, Art21. 2011

“Young Joon Kwak and Doomsday.”  Caroline Picard, Lantern Daily. 2010


Gallery: Commonwealth & Council

3006 W 7TH ST STE 220, Los Angeles, CA 90005


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Preferred Pronouns  , LED neon sign on the marquee of Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), 2018. Permanent public artwork viewable on Hollywood Blvd’s Walk of Fame.

Preferred Pronouns, LED neon sign on the marquee of Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), 2018. Permanent public artwork viewable on Hollywood Blvd’s Walk of Fame.