RM: From K-pop star to patron of the arts

RM reportedly owns works by KAWS, Ugo Rondinone, and Joel Shapiro, as well as Yun Hyong-Keun, Chang Ucchin, and Lee Bae. — Image via ETX Studio

Wednesday September 14, 2022 05:56 GMT

SEOUL, Sept. 14 — K-pop aficionados know RM mainly from the hit boy group, BTS. But the South Korean singer is increasingly making a name for himself in another, more surprising role, that of patron of the arts.

The slightest post from RM – whose real name is Kim Namjoon – causes a stir on social networks. Those in which he presents the various works of his art collection are no exception. One of these articles is about “Untitled (but the boomerang that comes back is not the same as the one I threw)”, a sculpture by the American multidisciplinary artist Roni Horn taking the form of a cylinder heavy-looking translucent glass. The South Korean rapper acquired it from Belgian gallery owner Xavier Hufkens for $1.2 million (RM5.4 million), according to ARTnews.

And that’s not all. From the look on his Instagram account, RM appears to own pieces from KAWS, Ugo Rondinone, Joel Shapiro, as well as fellow castmates Yun Hyong-Keun, Chang Ucchin, and Lee Bae. An impressive collection for a 27-year-old art lover.

However, it is not always easy for budding collectors to take their first steps into a world of codes and conventions like that of art. But it takes more to discourage millennial collectors like RM. These young people born between 1980 and 2000 now invest more in art than any other category of buyer. Their median spend was US$378,000 in the first half of 2021, according to the Art Basel and UBS report. That’s almost four times more than baby boomers.

Some of these 20-40 year olds have already opened private museums, like the Chinese collector Michael Xufu Huang. For his part, RM has the ambition to open an art gallery, as he explained in an episode of Intersections: The Art Basel Podcast. It would be a calm and quiet place, possibly with a small cafe at street level.

Check out the museums your idol visited Before this ambitious project potentially took shape, the singer visited museums, galleries and fairs in search of inspiration. He gives his followers a glimpse of his visits to the Chinati Foundation, the Vitra Design Museum, the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Center Pompidou or the Musée d’Orsay in the vlog posts (“video blog”) that the BTS group publishes occasionally. on his YouTube. channel. RM sees it as a way to share his passion with the (very) numerous members of his “army” of fans.

And for those in the art world, it can be beneficial. The musician’s interest in culture encourages his mostly young fans to venture into establishments they have long deserted. Once considered boring or reserved for the elite, museums are becoming a hangout for cool kids. This phenomenon linked to RM has a name: “namjooning”. This refers to the process of increased fandom that drives some of the star’s followers to partake in their idol’s hobbies. These include hiking, biking and visiting art exhibitions.

Some museums, such as the Busan Art Museum, saw attendance increase after a visit from RM. “Every time it passes, we get more visitors and more attention on social media, get comments from people saying they want to visit,” a museum insider told Korea JoongAng Daily. “We are grateful that each time RM visits, more people become more interested in art.” As such, it looks like the future is bright for RM, even though the BTS gang has now gone their separate ways. — Studio ETX

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