Bio + Press

Bio + Press


YOUNG JOON KWAK (b. 1984, Queens, NY) is a multidisciplinary artist, whose practice moves beyond the confines of the studio, gallery, and institution, into interstitial social realms. Kwak collaborates with their community of queer, trans, femme, POC artists and performers as the founder of Mutant Salon, a roving beauty salon and platform for collaborative installations and performances. Kwak is lead performer in the experimental electronic diva-noise band Xina Xurner. Their sculptures, performances, videos, collaborations, and works in a variety of mediums propose different ways of understanding bodies and spaces as mutable and open-ended.

Kwak has performed and exhibited at venues internationally, including the Hammer Museum, the Broad, REDCAT, ONE National LGBT Archives, Commonwealth and Council, and Night Gallery (LA), Regina Rex and Smack Mellon (NYC), Southern Exposure (San Francisco), MCA Denver (CO), and Pavillon Vendôme Centre d’Art Contemporain (Clichy, France). Kwak was recently awarded a grant from the Art Matters Foundation (NYC), and the Artist Community Engagement Grant from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation (NYC). Kwak received an MFA from the University of Southern California (2014), MA from the University of Chicago (2010), and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2007).

Kwak's solo exhibition, Hermy, is on view at Commonwealth & Council in Los Angeles, May 13 - June 24, 2017.



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

"5 Free Art Shows to See in L.A. This Week." Catherine Wagley, LA Weekly. 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

“Review: Makeover.” Mary Anne Kluth, Art Practical. 2015

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

Mutant Salon/Xina Xurner interview with Carol Cheh & John Tain, Performance Now, KCHUNG. 2013

“2012: The Year That Was.” Vern Hester, Windy City Times. 2012

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

“White Rabbits; Xina Xurner.” Vern Hester, Windy City Times. 2012

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

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

“In Conversation With Young Joon Kwak.”  Aay Preston-Myint, Monsters & Dust. 2009


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