Young Joon Kwak (b. 1984 in Queens, NY) is a multi-disciplinary artist working primarily through sculpture, performance, video, and collaboration. Kwak's work aims to transform our perception of marginalized bodies by reimagining their form, functionality, and materiality—from static and bound to pre-inscribed power structures, to an expanded sense of bodies and their environs as mutable and open-ended.
Kwak is the founder of Mutant Salon, a roving beauty salon/platform for experimental performance collaborations with their community of queer, trans, femme, POC artists, and performers. Kwak is the lead performer in the electronic-dance-noise band Xina Xurner. Performances and exhibitions include: the Hammer Museum, The Broad, REDCAT, and ONE National LGBT Archives, Los Angeles; Regina Rex and Smack Mellon, Brooklyn; Wattis Institute, Southern Exposure, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Pavillon Vendôme Centre d’Art Contemporain, Clichy, France; the Art Museum of the National University of Colombia, Bogotá.
Along with Mutant Salon, Kwak was Artist-in-Residence at LACE (LA) during Summer 2018. Kwak received the Rema Hort Mann Foundation’s Emerging Artist Grant in 2018 and the Art Matters Grant in 2016. Kwak received an MFA from the University of Southern California, MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago, and BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Kwak’s work has been reviewed and featured in Artforum, ARTnews, Artillery Magazine, BOMB, Hyperallergic, and the Los Angeles Times, among others.