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The Art Space Pool (hereinafter "Pool") is a non-profit art organization based in Seoul, South Korea with the mission of initiating contemporary art productions and fostering cultural discourses and ideas. Co-founded in 1999 by twenty local artist-curators, art critics, and interdisciplinary writers and thinkers, Pool has represented an institutional model of an artist-run space, an agenda-sharing community, an alternative knowledge-production site, and a collaborative collective of grassroots cultural producers. Initially established under the official name “alternative space pool,” Pool has been one of the leading initiatives in South Korea of the regional alternative cultural movement born in the 1990s that complimented the general socio-political evolution to democratization, civil society, and postcolonial regional awareness. Inheriting from historical avant-garde practices of the region from the modern period, Pool has continued to dedicate itself to the values of the criticality and autonomy of art, structural critique of cultural policy and the art system, a revisionist analysis of history, the proposition of the counter-publics, and art as a form of public utterance and responsibility in society.

In 2015, having watched its fifteenth anniversary pass by, Art Space Pool attempts to find the meaning of its historicity from those who have gathered and will gather at Pool under the vision of rethinking the meanings of “community” and “association.” In other words, Pool endeavors to examine its original mission that remains embedded in the name "Pool"?“a meeting of people sharing a critical mindset.” Always mindful of the reality that Pool can become a space with vital force only when as many as people become the “roots” to support it, Art Space Pool makes special efforts to serve as a space where exhibitions, art productions, workshops, seminars, research labs, archives, education programs, and international exchanges can organically unfold.

As a part of a focused strategy to diversify its sources of funding and reduce reliance on funding from the Korean government, Art Space Pool has put forth a dedicated effort to build a membership program comprising members who regularly support Pool as well as individual and corporate patrons, both domestic and overseas, and has held fundraising exhibitions with the support of member artists. The additional funding from artwork and publication sales, international matching funds, and income from outsourcing art education content development and art project curating services is counter-balancing the budget from governmental and public grants, making a more stable and independent future for Pool more promising than ever. Pool recently reconfigured its physical space into gallery, archive lounge, office, and outdoor spaces. As for its organizational structure, Pool has deliberately selected a mix of international and domestic board members. Most recently, Pool has taken steps to revive the publication of the first Korean historical alternative art journal initiative, forum a, and has initiated an archival project of Pool's institutional history.

Sunghee Lee, Director, Art Space Pool
110-803 Jongno-gu, Googi-dong 56-13, Seoul, Korea I tel +82 2 396 4805 fax +82 2 396 9636 | altpool@altpool.org | © art space pool, seoul
The website production was made possible by the patronage of Haegyu Yang.