Artist Byron Kim’s Humble Reflections on Identity Suggest Commonality Amid Difference—Here Are 3 Facts You May Not Know About His Work

Byron Kim, Synecdoche (1991–). Photo: Phoebe d’Heurle.

In these turbulent times, creativity and empathy are more necessary than ever to bridge divides and find solutions. Artnet News’s Art and Empathy Project is an ongoing investigation into how the art world can help enhance emotional intelligence, drawing insights and inspiration from creatives, thought leaders, and great works of art.

Born in America with Korean heritage, Byron Kim is an artist whose work has long explored racial identity and the implications of minority status in a country founded on the ideal of equality.

First exhibited in the 1993 Whitney Biennial, Synecdoche (1991–) presents 400 individual monochrome portraits of individuals’ skin colors. At once an abstract wonder, the piece takes on an entirely new meaning considering its political subtext.

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