MICA professor, Korean-American artist Mina Cheon brings art installation of 100,000 choco pies to Busan Biennale

Maryland Institute College of Art professor and Korean-American artist Mina Cheon, known for her “polipop,” or political pop art, began displaying her art installation “Eat Choco-Pie Together” — made from 100,000 choco pies — at South Korea’s Busan Biennale Saturday, according to several South Korean Outlets.

The moonpie-like desserts, similar in popularity as Twinkies are in America, were a popular smuggled good in North Korea, and were later donated from South Korea as a token of appreciation to North Korean workers at a facility in which people from both Koreas worked.

Cheon stated in a recent TEDTalk that the individually wrapped pies are now worth more than three bowls of rice in North Korea and remain a sought after snack in the country.

Cheon has arranged the pies in a circular shape at the Museum of Contemporary Art Busan, allowing visitors to pick them up and indulge in the pastry, while delivering a message of peace and encouraging cooperation and cultural exchange between the two Koreas, according to The installation, which adheres to the Biennale’s theme “Divided We Stand” on split territories, will run through Nov. 11 along with the works of more than 60 other artists.

In 2014, Cheon also filled the Ethan Cohen Gallery in New York with 10,000 choco pies, according to the gallery’s website — an experience that “allowed Americans to taste the sweet desire of North Koreans,” said Cheon in her TEDTalk.

“By tasting choco pie, they are able to concentrate on how North Koreans also have desire and love,” she said. “In a way, it’s humanizing North Koreans when the rest of the world’s impression of North Koreans [is] to be backwards and animal-like.”


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