Elizabeth Chung learns the business of art

Jude Herwitz, Staff Writer

As the daughter of a New York gallery owner, Elizabeth Chung (12) has been immersed in the world of the arts ever since she was born.

Her mother, Tina Kim P’19, deals contemporary art, both in the first hand and second hand markets; she works directly with artists creating new pieces to sell, or buys and resells art by deceased artists.

“I see art every day; it’s just part of my life… My mom needs to put the art that she’s not selling somewhere, so she puts it in the house,” Chung said.

While Kim has inspired Chung’s interest in art in general, their tastes in art differ substantially. Both like modern and contemporary art, but Chung prefers very large, colorful displays while her mother prefers minimalism, Chung said

Kim nurtures her daughter’s curiosity for all forms of art through visits to museums and historical sites. “Since Elizabeth’s childhood, we have travelled to not only see contemporary art, but also to view historical sites and antiquities. It was important for me to have her see different cultures and appreciate that not one is better than the other, we are all influencing each other,” Kim said.

Chung spends time at the gallery and helps her mother run it. Her work there varies from menial tasks, such as filing, to writing press releases. “She helps me to visit art openings and support them on social media. When I do dinners she will help host. She likes to come to fairs with me, and comes to Basel,” Kim said, referring to Art Basel, an annual international exhibition in Miami of the world’s major artists.

“I also attend art events and gallery openings because I just love the people,” Chung said. “They are always very interesting, and I really enjoy talking to them.”

In fact, Chung attributes her friendships with student artists to her mother’s career.

“I like creative type people. Probably it’s because I grew up around a lot of professional artists,” she said.

Moreover, Chung traces another one of her passions, fashion, to her mother.

“The high art worlds and high fashion worlds are very closely intertwined. Whenever you go to a high art event you’ll see important fashion figures, and vice versa,” she said. “The way my mom taught me to look at art and appreciate art has influenced how I look at fashion.”

How Chung thinks about English stems from her interest in art, and how she has been pushed to think creatively about art. Her mother encouraged her to take art history, which is now one of Chung’s favorite subjects.

“I’m really interested in art history, and that’s definitely due to my mom,” Chung said.