BTS Ventures Into The Art World With CONNECT, BTS

Kudos to the several ARMYs who managed to connect the two dots. You connected it!

As part of promotional plans in the lead up to the group’s album, BTS launches a series of major public art projects spanning across several cities.

On January 8, following news of the South Korean powerhouse’s comeback, Big Hit Entertainment had teased fans with a comeback map in preparation for the upcoming release of Map of the Soul: 7. A detail that sparked the curiosity of fans was the vague CONNECT, BTS that outlined in the schedule a number of times, often attached to a major city. This would continue as members of the group would post photos with the hashtag, sending ARMYs into a frenzy for theories as per usual.

After making the fandom look very silly at 12 AM KST, it finally launched,

Quite a few fans were correct with their speculation of the program’s relationship with art! On January 14, CONNECT, BTS was revealed to be a global art initiative spanning five cities with the involvement of 22 artists based on their philosophy.

Like its name, the worldwide art initiative seeks to mediate a disconnection between art, music and people in a hyperconnected world and the contradictory isolation it tends to incite.

This project aims to redefine the relationships between art and music, the material and immaterial, artists and their audiences, artists and artists, and theory and practice.

Such a philosophy would align with everything BTS ultimately stands. Be it in their musical body of work that has resonated with those at society’s periphery or their advocacy in their UNICEF campaign, or UN speech.

Fundamentally, the group has diverged from the standard promotional strategies adopted by acts in the Kpop industry or in the West in choosing to use their platform to highlight several artists and their works to spread a crucial message about unity. 

While this move could see pre-conceived views about BTS and their artistry challenged, there is a significance in the supergroup using their influence to provide an opportunity for and to encourage people to immerse themselves into the world of art. This is especially notable when art is often subject to funding cuts and artists are frequently undervalued. The art venture also bypasses the traditional classist gatekeeping with the art shows said free, easing the accessibility for these exhibitions. In essence, those familiar with BTS would say that this is actually very on-brand for them.

The ambitious project opens its first art show in London today at the Serpentine Gallery, spotlighting Jakob Kudsk Steensen’s digital artwork  Catharsis.

BTS interview artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen about his artwork.

Other artists involved include Antony Gormley, Yiyun Kang, and Tomás Saraceno. All the individual artwork featured in the project will be accessible online and will have an introductory video recorded by each of the BTS members themselves at the exhibition’s location.

In the upcoming weeks, Connect, BTS will open art shows in New York, Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Seoul ahead of Map of the Soul: 7’s release on February 21. Visit the official website for the art venture to learn more information.

Thoughts? Remember to drink water and pat a good dog for self-care. Yell at us at @ForeverBTScom!

Written by S. Acierda

If you're reading this, remember to drink water. Been around since Jungkook was still a rapper. Yell at me on Twitter @s_vacierda.