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Almost Home Smithsonian American Art Museum Do Ho Suh


One Boundary-Pushing Exhibit

By Alice Cisternino

Do Ho Suh: Almost Home photo by Libby Weiler and courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum


This exhibit reimagines the concept of space.

How do places influence us? 
What do we retain from one space to the next? These questions drive artist Do Ho Suh and underlie his exhibition Almost Home at the Smithsonian American Art Museum through Aug. 5. Born in Korea, Suh later moved to the United States and currently lives in three vastly different locales—New York, London and Seoul. “His experience of coming from another country and trying to make a new life while not completely forgetting about the old one is, in a sense, a classic immigrant story,” says Sarah Newman, SAAM’s James Dicke curator of contemporary art. Suh’s art foregrounds his journey. By hand, he methodically and lovingly measures his dwellings in order to create life-size fabric interpretations of their architecture. He calls these sculptures “suitcase homes” because they can be transported and reconstructed anywhere. The centerpiece is from his Hubs series: Visitors walk through an immense passage comprised of entryways from his previous New York (pink), Berlin (green) and Seoul (blue) residences. “The acts of measuring these spaces is a way for me to remember,” he says. “The sense of loss is linked to the process of revealing memories.” Certainly, the exhibition captures the idea that we are betwixt and between: perpetually almost there, but still searching, looking forward and back. “[The spaces] are both incredibly personal and universal,” Newman finishes. “Everyone has had the experience of longing for an absent home.” Free, F and Eighth streets Northwest