Museum Hours
Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Jakhodo Today

Lui Art Wall

A beloved and meaningful motif from Korean folk art, reimagined for the 21st century.  

Jakhodo Today by Dave Young Kim (American, b. 1979) was commissioned by the Asian Art Museum for the Lawrence and Gorretti Lui Hyde Street Art Wall and installed in 2023. Kim’s composition draws inspiration from Korean folk paintings of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). The tiger and magpie pairing appears so frequently in Korean art that it comprises its own genre: jakhodo, paintings depicting tigers and magpies. As tigers were believed to expel evil spirits and magpies represented bearers of good news, paintings of this duo were sometimes placed on the front gates or doors of houses to bring good luck. In time, a political dimension also emerged: caricatured as a foolish oaf, the tiger became a symbol for the aristocratic yangban, while the dignified magpie represented the common people; the display of such imagery allowed villagers to quietly rebel against the ruling class. The mural’s saekdong (colorful stripes) are a decorative element often used to adorn clothes and traditionally thought to summon good fortune. Their five or seven colored stripes originated with the concept of eumyang-ohaeng, or yin and yang, and the five elements. 

The tiger and magpie appear on several artworks in the museum’s collection of Korean art. Kim notes that many Korean Americans may have grown up with such imagery without being privy to the symbolism behind it. “It speaks of the familiarity of gleaned tradition without having knowledge of the deeper context or ancestral culture,” says Kim; “this is the immigrant story.”  

Dave Young Kim is a Los Angeles-based artist with Bay Area roots. A co-founder of the Korean American Artist Collective, Kim often uses the specific to address universal ideas of the human condition in his artwork. Fundamentally, he explains, his work speaks to the premise that “we are all looking for a place to call home.”

Curated by Naz Cuguoglu, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art & Programs.


About the Lawrence and Gorretti Lui Hyde Street Art Wall

Jakhodo Today is the second commission for the Lawrence and Gorretti Lui Hyde Street Art Wall, a 7-by-40-foot site on the exterior of the Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion. A new space in the city for the presentation of public art, the art wall will host an ongoing series of commissioned works primarily by Bay Area Asian American artists. Facing out toward the Tenderloin, the Lui Art Wall is a prominent venue to recognize local talent, raise issues relevant to our neighbors — from immigrant traditions to concepts of sanctuary — and address the Asian American experience more broadly. 


Image: Digital comp for Jakhodo Today by Dave Young Kim (American, b. 1979). Lawrence and Gorretti Lui Hyde Street Art Wall, 2023.  

Organizers & Sponsors

Dave Young Kim: Jakhodo Today was commissioned by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Presentation is made possible with the generous support of Target.