Kyunghee Pyun is associate professor of art history at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. She wrote Fashion, Identity, Power in Modern Asia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) discussing modernized dress in the early 20th-century. She co-edited Interpreting Modernism in Korean Art: Fluidity and Fragmentation (Routledge 2021); American Art from Asia: Artistic Praxis and Theoretical Divergence(Routledge 2022); and Expanding the Parameters of Feminist Artivism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022). She is writing a new book, School Uniforms in East Asia: Fashioning Statehood and Self (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023; forthcoming). Her new book, Dress History of Korea: Critical Perspectives of Primary Sources (Bloomsbury, 2023) is noted as the indispensable guide to the study of Korean dress and fashion.
Her most recent project is a book manuscript called Coerced Exoticism: Self-Censorship and Predicament of American Artists from Asia. In a related project, she discusses “Reverse Orientalism,” an attitude of objectifying, romanticizing, and exoticizing their own culture by Asian citizens. Asian artists and audiences have learned how non-Asians—most likely imperial observers and consumers—perceive and glorify the cultural heritage of Asia and somehow apply those standards to their own sensitivity and aesthetics. Both manuscripts argue that Asian artists and designers, whether having studied abroad or not, were marginalized in the discourse of contemporary design. This marginalization resulted from a long tradition of exoticism and orientalism of collectors of Asian art in the U.S. as well as reverse orientalism by Asian artists themselves.
Professor Pyun is also active as a curator and art critic of contemporary art. She has been writing a column called “Art and Technology” for several years at the Korean Daily. She has been a Fulbright Scholar (2021-2022) and have been an ambassador for the Fulbright Program by reviewing applications, hosting Fulbright Scholars to the United States, and giving speeches on and off campus.