How RM of K-pop group BTS became one of the biggest and youngest influencers in the art world

As a member of one of the biggest boy bands in the world, BTSRM, 28, has amassed an estimated $22 million fortune, according to reports.

But RM, whose initials stand for “Rap Monster” and whose real name is Kim Namjoon, didn’t go the traditional rich young musician way of spending his money on fast cars and big houses.

Instead, he’s become one of the art world’s biggest and youngest influencers, assembling a personal collection that includes works by South Korean artist Yoon Hyung-kyun, American minimalist Joel Shapiro, and most recently a $1.2 million sculpture by American multidisciplinary artist Ronnie Horn.

Instagramming his own group

Over the past few years, RM has been sharing his collectibles both on Instagram and in videos on YouTube where he keeps a vlog about his life and travels.

“I think young people these days are using their Instagram feed to represent themselves,” he said. art news. “My Instagram account is literally ‘just an archive’ about me. I’m sure people are familiar with RM as a public figure on stage… This is an archive of both RM and Kim Namjoon, and I’m also doing this for myself in the future.”

Investing in his financial future has led him to travel the world on art buying trips. He shared a video in July of his trip to Art Basel art fair, Switzerlandas well as the Vitra Design Museum, saying, “I’m here to see the chairs.”

He took the furniture by Eames and Alexandre Girard, and also admired the work of Tadao Ando and Jean Prouvé.

Describing Art Basel as “the greatest art fair in the world”, he said, “I have visited art galleries in Korea many times, but I have always wanted to visit Art Basel when I am abroad.”

Advocating for South Korean artists

Among the RM collection are pieces by South Korean artists. He shared two pieces Yun Hyong-keun owns on social media and advocates for Lee Bae’s modernist works.

During his trip to Art Basel, he highlighted the tracks of Do Ho Suh, Lee Seung Jio, Yoo Youngkuk, and Nam June Paik, the latter having emerged as one of the singer’s favorite artists. He also attended the Kukje exhibition in Seoul for the recent Yoo exhibition.

Once you develop your own taste and know what kind of art or artist you like, you will have better eyes at distinguishing them


“I tend to choose a gallery in which my favorite artist is shown, or a place that piques my curiosity, such as the Guggenheim Museum and the Glenston Museum,” he said. art news. “In Korea, I visit museums that display artworks by contemporary and contemporary Korean artists. When I’m abroad, I choose based on the space and the artists themselves.

“I like to think about how different spaces for artwork give different energy and feel. When watching the work of Korean artists in foreign countries, nationality doesn’t count as much. But I can definitely say that seeing Yun Hyong-keun’s work at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice and viewing them side by side Combined with Donald Judd’s work at the Chinati Foundation has left me in awe.”

Inspiring artistic appreciation in fans and Generation Z.

RM’s involvement in his appreciation for art has increased the number of visitors to the museums and galleries he promotes.

The effect even has a name: “Namjuning”, in it Fans, known in the BTS army, Participate in RM’s hobbies and passions and post pictures of themselves on social media using the hashtag.

Many organizations have suffered from the effects of #namjooning. The Rothko Chapel and The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, and The Broad Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles have reported an increase in visitors keen to repeat the photos RM posted of himself during his visits.

At the Washington National Gallery of Art, after the singer shared a photo of himself sitting on a bench alongside a selection of his favorite works — including Claude Monet, Amedeo Modigliani and Paul Cézanne — the gallery saw a huge increase in Instagram followers.

In addition to collecting, RM has also stepped into the role of artistic supporter. In 2020, he donated 100 million South Korean won (about $73,000) to the Seoul National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) so that he can reissue unprinted art books for libraries. This act resulted in RM being named Artistic Sponsor of the Year by the Arts Council of Korea.

“We are very pleased that RM, who has significant global influence, is an art lover,” MMCA Director Yoon Bomo said in a statement about the donation.

Earn the respect of the art world

RM . said Intersections: Fun Puzzle Podcast that his art collection “really gives me a standard to live by as a better man and a better adult.”

“I just want to make timeless music that I like,” he said.

Not only was he able to introduce his legions of fans to contemporary art, but he also earned the art world admiration for his knowledge and enthusiasm.

Korean art dealer Park Kyung-mi, who owns the influential PKM Gallery in Seoul, said the singer has made art accessible to young people and the general public by sharing his experiences on social media and via his vlog. “It throws this kind of barrier between art institutions – galleries and museums – and young people.”

RM . said The The New York Times From his art collection: “I feel like they’re watching me. I’m excited. I want to be a better person, a better person, because there’s this aura that comes from these artworks on display.” [When I’m feeling] Tired or disappointed, I stand there sometimes and have a conversation.”

He told the newspaper about his future plans for his public art space: “I want the place to be really quiet and quiet, but it still has to look great. I think there’s something I can offer as an outsider in the art industry.”

Updated: September 16, 2022, 4:03 am

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