Valerie Goodman, director and owner of the Valerie Goodman Gallery will present the first U.S. showing of Yun-Mo Ahn’s widely traveled exhibition “Become a Butterfly.” Initially created in collaboration with autistic Korean Children, this installation has been expanded to include children with autism from the tri-state area, and is paired with works by the French artist and designer Jacques Jarrige who shares Yun-Mo Ahn’s respect for the creativity of people outside the mainstream. You are invited to a reception in the presence of Yun-Mo Ahn on March 13th, between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at Valerie Goodman Gallery, 315 East 91st Street. The exhibition will be open to the public from March 14th to April 12th 2014.
For the past six years, the Korean artist Yun-Mo Ahn has been working with autistic children in his home country. Having lived and studied in New York in the 1990’s, he developed a keen sense of the difficulties of communication, a challenge every foreigner faces. At the same time, he recognized art as a powerful instrument for bridging cultural differences and began exploring an emotionally charged pictorial language: iconic images acquire utopian dimensions as means of instant communication. Back in Korea, he began working with a small group of developmentally challenged children and soon became fascinated by their colorful and sophisticated creations, which spoke of rich interior worlds. With his first six collaborators, this passionate humanist embarked on a walking and exhibition tour which soon surpassed his hope for the “butterfly effect” known from physics, when a tiny flutter can have a far reaching impact. And indeed, the phenomenon, which provided the motif for the children’s art works, unfolded into a celebrated project with more and more participants whose expressions were joined in ever expanding art installations. By lending his artistic expertise to the children’s uninhibited expressions, Yun-Mo Ahn turns them into multi-layered, elegant compositions. One thousand butterflies will land at our gallery, and we hope their wings will stir up storms of excitement. We are especially pleased to announce that the McCarton Foundation in Chelsea–one of the country’s most important organizations devoted to recognizing the abilities of children and young adults on the autism spectrum–has partnered with us in realizing this current and upcoming show.
We are equally honored to present pieces by our resident artist Jacques Jarrige created collaboratively in a mental hospital in Paris where he has been teaching sculpture for years. Upon meeting in Paris, Yun Mo Ahn recognized in Jacques Jarrige ‘s work a similar approach and shared personal enrichment; he invited him to collaborate in his “Become A Butterfly” exhibition. As visual communicators, both artists have learned that these conditions can be viewed in terms of a cultural and language barrier – as our show hopes to demonstrate, art can help to overcome these obstacles. Valerie Goodman Gallery is promoting the artists and the causes they support to create awareness about autism and mental illness. She has coordinated a series of creative workshops at the McCarton foundation and at the educational departments of the Queens Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.
The exhibition “Become a Butterfly” at the Valerie Goodman gallery will be followed by exhibitions at the Art Gallery of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Pleasantville NY and at the Museum of Modern Art- Create Ability Gallery. Numerous window displays throughout the city will feature Butterfly installations; among them is the 42nd Transit Authority Bus Terminal