K-Pop band BTS joins Hans Ulrich Obrist’s 30-year art project

Published August 19, 2020, 9:27 PM

by Rom Mallick

The Korean idols are the latest to be part of the Swiss curator and critic’s epic work

K-ANVAS The art of BTS

With art taking a new life in this so-called quarantine age, many artists have taken their masterpieces online. Some have even created works meant to be showcased online. Others, like Hans Ulrich Obrist and his “do it” project, have found a new home on the web, after having moved from the Swiss art curator’s Instagram into a dedicated website by Google Arts & Culture

In its latest chapter, dubbed “do it, around the world,” Obrist has taken instructions on how to create art from artists located, well, all over the world. And K-Pop icon BTS is the latest addition to this venerable list of creators, which include the likes of Virgil Abloh, Simone Forti, and Aria Dean, to name a few. 

BTS’s contribution to the ever-growing list of do-it-yourself art instructions is written in a rather heartfelt note both in English and hangul:

Connect one dot with another
Draw a line, create a plane.
Beyond the boundaries of time and space,
“You” and “I” become “We.”
Our future is a beautiful image.

The “do it” project, which started in 1994 after a conversation Obrist had with artists Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier, has featured DIY art instructions from artists old and new, great and budding. Some notables are Louise Bourgeois, Adrian Piper, Yoko Ono, and Tracey Emin

Now a partnership between Google Arts & Culture and London’s Serpentine Galleries, where Obrist is currently artistic director, “do it, around the world” has featured more DIY art instructions that cater to the world’s current situation. This includes a lot of food instructions, including Rirkit Tiravanija’s recipe for dried jalapeños and Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ instructions on buying 180 lbs of candy to leave in a corner. Other more quarantine-life-centered “do it” works are Simone Forti’s “masque-culotte” and Meriem Bennani’s how to Tiktok walkthrough.   

BTS’ “do it” participation isn’t the K-Pop band’s first foray into the world of the visual arts, nor is it their first partnership with the Serpentine Galleries. Earlier this January, the Korean group launched “CONNECT, BTS,” featuring a series of public art commissions from 22 artists from four cities around the world, namely Seoul, Buenos Aires, Berlin, and New York.