Perspectives: Michael Joo

Silver and Space

Chemical processes, the environment, and the movement of bodies through space all lie at the core of Joo’s art. He typically incorporates tools often used for scientific study when producing his works, including the two that comprise his installation at the Freer|Sackler.

For Collective, Joo created a composition based on photographs and scans of the crane specimens. These carcasses “are a combination of organic form and the geometry of the storage containers that have housed them for decades,” Joo explains. He then silk-screened his work onto canvas and silvered it using a chemical process derived from early imaging techniques. The final result, he says, “both intensifies and obscures the red-crowned crane specimens they depict.”

Joo’s sculpture Migrated visualizes the cranes’ migration patterns as lines in space. Suspended brass rods reach out from the canvas in a configuration drawn from satellite tracking of the birds’ seasonal flights. “The rods represent the relative flight path distances between points, and are . . . completely and sensitively dependent on each other for balance,” he notes, adding that the lines in space reference both freedom and “the inescapability of instinct.”


The Making of Collective and Migrated

Examples of Related Work



Overview | Learn More About the Artist