Creative Quarantine: Artist / Gallerist S.Y. Lim

Comprised Of | © Liz McCarthy, 2020 | Install photo by S.Y. Lim

Artist and Gallerist, S.Y. Lim, discusses how the pandemic has affected her work as both an artist and as the President of a gallery space. She took some time to talk to Esthetic Lens about the stressors and new opportunities that have occurred during this time.


1. How are you holding up?

Daily quarantine living and the ongoing uncertainty of when and how this would end felt like a nightmare in the beginning. I am also dealing with immigration stuff, so it was really stressful! I struggled a little bit to adapt to the changes, but it got better as time went by. I am doing much better now by eating more and sleeping more!


Comprised Of | © Liz McCarthy, 2020 | Install photo by S.Y. Lim

Comprised Of | © Liz McCarthy, 2020 | Install photo by S.Y. Lim

Comprised Of | © Liz McCarthy, 2020 | Install photo by S.Y. Lim


2. Has Covid-19 had an effect on your work? If so, in what way?

Absolutely! I run a 501©(3) non-profit gallery named 062, in Bridgeport.

We had to cancel Liz McCarthy’s solo show, Comprised Of, a night before the opening because of the lockdown. We had to re-schedule, and the exhibition just opened last Friday. We were also supposed to have a group show with CPS Lives in our space, but we ended up having a virtual exhibition. It went pretty smoothly, and we all enjoyed it. We also started creating more online content as well since many things are going digital.


Comprised Of | © Liz McCarthy, 2020 | Install photo by S.Y. Lim

Comprised Of | © Liz McCarthy, 2020 | Install photo by S.Y. Lim

Open Studio: rooted-looping-scrambling-rambling-tangling-twining-tendrils | © Aimeé Beaubien, 2020

We are also in a huge group show at Hyde Park Art Center. We are presenting two Korean artists; Thomas Kong and Ed Oh, who had solo shows at 062. The installation went pretty smoothly. To show Thomas Kong’s collage works, we turned the kitchen area into a little bodega. Ed Oh’s intercom casts are installed throughout the Hyde Park Art Center. It will be fun for the audience to come across so many different intercoms while strolling around.  


Open Studio: rooted-looping-scrambling-rambling-tangling-twining-tendrils | © Aimeé Beaubien, 2020

We are also participating in the upcoming NADA Chicago Opening 2020, which will also be online. Online art fair during pandemic! Isn’t that wild? Nowadays, many things are happening online, and us trying to fit in and move on was a bit hard as a small team. 


Open Studio: rooted-looping-scrambling-rambling-tangling-twining-tendrils | © Aimeé Beaubien, 2020

Mango Intercom | © Ed Oh, 2020


3. Is there anything you’ve added to your practice that you’d like to keep after this is over?

I am learning how to slow things down a little bit. It was needed!


Ghost Intercom | © Ed Oh, 2020

4. Of the artists you follow, who is handling this particularly well?


I co-curated a group show at 6018NORTH, and I think Tricia Van Eck is handling and being very responsive to the issues that we are all facing, such as COVID-19, police brutality, institutional racism, social injustice, and economic inequality by letting young curators curate a show at her place.


© Thomas Kong, 2020 | Install photo by S.Y Lim

Also, I recently visited Jin Lee’s studio. She showed me photos of South Korea in the ’80s, and they were beautiful. She has been working on a few other projects and will be having a show at the Chicago Cultural Center next year.


Black Intercom | © Ed Oh, 2020

Taro Intercom | © Ed Oh, 2020


5. Are there any artists, filmmakers, albums, or genres you’ve been drawn to during the crisis? If so, why?

Nina Simone. She is just so inspiring.


© Thomas Kong, 2020 | Install photo by S.Y Lim

© S.Y. Lim, 2020

Su Yeon Lim (b.1993, South Korea) is a Chicago-based artist who lives and works between Gwang Ju, Seoul, South Korea, and Chicago. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017. She is a founder of 062, a non-profit art gallery housed within the Zhou B Art Center in Bridgeport.


Check out Lim’s Website and Instagram.