North Korean artists first came to Western attention when Australia denied several artists visas. In Beijing, the artists aren’t similarly shunned. But CNN explains why its unlikely that they’ll be visiting the city any time soon. They’re not selling the art, the state is. Read this scary story to understand why:
The Beijing-based Jinghesheng Investment Company has partnered with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), North Korea’s formal name, to exhibit — and sell — 60 oil paintings and 30 traditional Korean ink paintings.
“They were all carefully selected by the DPRK’s Ministry of Culture,” said exhibit director Li Xuemei. Although North Korean artworks may be available in some galleries in China and other countries, said Li, “you don’t really know where they came from, but ours are surely authentic artworks from DPRK.” […]
Li said the artwork is only sold to elite customers, typically Chinese entrepreneurs in affluent cities like Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Dalian. She said 30 percent of the works on display have already been sold, but she declines to quote any prices.
“Many people chose to collect this art because North Korea is a country still closed to the outside world, although it is seeking to open up in the future,” Li said. “This makes North Korean artworks a good investment. Some artists have already passed away, making their work more unique and valuable.”
While the arts’ value may increase over time, their North Korean artists will not see any cash returns.
“In North Korea,” Li said, “art is not private property and the value made from the sales will go directly to the state.”