From Oscar-winning movies like “Parasite” and the Oscar-nominated “Past Lives,” to the innovative modern fashion and the thumping beats of K-pop groups like BLACKPINK and BTS, South Korean culture has risen to global prominence. It’s known as the Korean Wave, or Hallyu.

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is highlighting Korean culture with “Hallyu! The Korean Wave” a new 250-piece exhibit which includes ancient art, current music and pop culture trends.

The exhibit's curator, Christina Yu Yu, hopes that this exhibit can reach audiences of all ages.

“For the younger generation, they can learn more about history... maybe for the parents and grandparents' generation, this exhibition can also help them to learn about this contemporary cultural phenomena,” Yu Yu said on Under the Radar.

The exhibit also highlights the influence of fan culture for K-pop through the display of different K-pop groups' light sticks and online activism in the K-pop community.

“The fandom has been the vehicle for this new phenomenon and I think it will be the crucial factor to [keep Hallyu] sustainable,” said professor Irhe Sohn, a Korean culture expert.

This week Under the Radar discusses the significance of Hallyu, the links between the exhibit's pop culture and ancient pieces, and the fandom culture that continues to popularize South Korean media.


Christina Yu Yu, Chair of Art of Asia at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Irhe Sohn, assistant professor of Korean Language and Literature at Smith College