Only connect – K-pop beams into the Serpentine Galleries

14 January 2020

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories

Few art projects can have been as highly anticipated as ‘CONNECT, BTS’, a collaboration between six curators in five countries and the global K-pop phenomenon that is BTS, a seven-piece boyband with a fan base so devoted they call themselves the ‘ARMY’.

The members of the group were themselves present (sort of) at the project launch press conference at the Serpentine Galleries in Hyde Park on 14 January – via an audio and video live connection that was relatively glitch-free (bar a couple of time lags), fitting for an endeavour that is all about ‘connect[ing] individuals across the world as they reevaluate their present circumstances, attitudes and potentialities’.

Rakewell was particularly tickled by the artist Tomás Saraceno’s announcement that he would be trying to send a person in an ‘aerosolar sculpture’ (powered by air and solar energy) across the world from Argentina to BTS’s home in Korea – a ‘K-hop’, as Saraceno had it.

What drew BTS to this project? Well, according to their ‘leader’, RM, it was his own recent interest in ‘what they call fine or visual art’, developed over the past year through visits to art galleries and museums around the world – all, of course, thoroughly documented on social media:


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봄이구나 !! 🧚‍♂️ #RM

A post shared by 방탄소년단 BTS 김남준 RM (@btsnamjoon) on


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I met MET 😱

A post shared by 방탄소년단 BTS 김남준 RM (@btsnamjoon) on


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🙊🙊 #RM

A post shared by 방탄소년단 BTS 김남준 RM (@btsnamjoon) on

Perhaps RM was inspired by fellow boyband heartthrob Harry Styles, who is so serious about collecting art – including, it’s been reported, a $3m Basquiat painting – that he has apparently had a purpose-built gallery added to his home in London. Rakewell wonders whether RM or BTS might be eyeing up Saraceno’s fantastical flying machine for purchase – K-shopping for a K-chopper for the K-poppers, as it were.

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.

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