The singer and rapper discusses the unexpected origins of his love of art and building a collection filled with Korean artists
RM at the 2022 Grammy Awards. KEVIN MAZUR/GETTY IMAGES
BTS’ RM DISCUSSED the serendipitous origins of his love of art and finding inspiration in his own collection of mostly Korean artists in a new interview with The New York Times
Over the past few years, the 27-year-old singer/rapper has established himself as an avid art fan, astute collector, and generous patron. He loaned a terra cotta sculpture of a horse by the Korean artist Kwon Jin-kyu to the Seoul Museum of Art for a recent exhibit and donated about $84,000 to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art so it could re-print old art books and give them to libraries. His adventures to various galleries and museums often lead to an attendance boost, with BTS’ devoted fans following his lead. 
While art and music have long been intertwined, and RM said he grew up going to museums with his parents, he didn’t really fall in love with it until a chance visit to the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018 while BTS was on tour. Observing paintings by Seurat and Monet, he said, “was almost like Stendhal syndrome,” the term used when a piece of art evokes a  physical reaction, like an uptick in heart rate. “I was looking at these art pieces, and it was an amazing experience,” he said.
Noting his penchant for collecting as a kid (Pokémon cards, stamps, etc.), RM quickly embraced collecting art. And having spent so much time touring the world, he found himself drawn particularly to Korean artists: While he’s boosted contemporary artists like Dooyong Ro, he’s found himself drawn to 20th-century figures like Yun Hyong-keun, Chang Ucchin, and Nam June Paik, who lived through the Korean War and the military dictatorship that followed it. 
“I was able to feel their kind of sweat and blood,” RM said, adding that he felt he could connect with them as “human beings that were trying to present their artworks in the world.”
RM added that he often uses the pieces in his collection for inspiration, looking at them and striking up conversations with the artists in his head. “I feel like they’re watching me,” he said. “I’m motivated. I want to be a better person, a better adult, because there is this aura that is coming from these artworks on display.”
From Rolling Stone US.

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