Korean group BTS delves into the world of fine art


BTS performs at Citi Field in New York on Oct. 7, 2018. The group’s public art project sponsors 22 individual artists around the world.

Joshua Chen, Scout Editor-in-Chief

   The massively popular Korean pop group BTS has conquered the music industry, and the seven-member ensemble now takes on a new challenge with the launch of a global public art project.

   According to the official website, the project — called “Connect, BTS” — aims to “redefine the relationships between art and music, the material and immaterial, artists and their audiences, artists and artists, theory and practice.” The site’s introduction describes the initiative “in terms of a collective curatorial practice by curators around the world who resonated with BTS’ philosophy.” BTS will sponsor artistic projects and events by 22 artists at galleries in London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul and New York. 

   Connect, BTS kicked off at London’s Serpentine Gallery on Jan. 14, featuring Jakob Kudsk Steensen’s virtual reality and video installation “Catharsis.” The Berlin, Buenos Aires and Seoul exhibitions have also opened this month — the New York one launches Feb. 5 — and the project will run until late March.

   This project seeks to merge the worlds of art and music, and allows the group, outspoken in its music and public message about self-love, mental health and acceptance, to further enrich its philosophy through technology and fine art. The website outlines this purpose, explaining that Connect, BTS “offers an homage to diversity and originality, a song of special attention to the periphery and the overlooked.” 

   As fans anticipate the group’s forthcoming album “Map of the Soul: 7” — pre-orders for the album have already exceeded 3.4 million copies, according to BTS’ label — they view Connect, BTS as another way to support the members and their message. BTS’ tweets about the project have racked up millions of likes and thousands of comments in support. The art initiative is already proving a success, as these galleries around the world have attracted thousands to see.