resigned as Seoul mayor in 2011 after his campaign to end free lunches for all schoolchildren failed to win enough support.

Pre-election surveys this month showed that voters who planned to vote for Mr. Oh would do so not because they considered him morally superior to his Democratic Party rival. Instead, it was because they wanted to “pass judgment on the Moon Jae-in government.”

View Source

Couple Who Defaced $400,000 Painting in South Korea Thought It Was a Public Art Project

SEOUL — The couple saw brushes and paint cans in front of a paint-splattered canvas at a gallery in a Seoul shopping mall. So they added a few brush strokes, assuming it was a participatory mural.

Not quite: The painting was a finished work by an American artist whose abstract aesthetic riffs on street art. The piece is worth more than $400,000, according to the organizers of the exhibition that featured the painting.

Now it’s hard to tell where the artist’s work ends and the vandalism begins. “Graffitied graffiti,” a local newspaper headline said last week.

Either way, the piece, “Untitled,” by John Andrew Perello, the graffiti artist known as JonOne, is now a magnet for selfies. And on social media, South Koreans are debating what the vandalism illustrates about art, authorship and authenticity.

The artwork is displayed with paint cans, brushes and shoes that the artist used when he worked on it, one of the exhibition’s organizers, Kang Wook, said in an interview. He added, “There were guidelines and a notice, but the couple did not pay attention.”

Some social media users have echoed Mr. Kang’s reasoning. Others say the sign was confusing and the couple should not be blamed.

A few suggest that the incident itself was a form of contemporary art, or that the couple’s abstract brush strokes — three dark-green blotches covering an area about 35 inches by 11 inches — have improved the piece.

The debate is notable in part because the crime was not intentional and the painting can be restored, said Ken Kim, an art restoration expert in Seoul who has seen the vandalized work.

The painting is part of “Street Noise,” an exhibition that opened at Lotte World Mall in Seoul in February and features about 130 artworks by an international group of more than a dozen graffiti artists. Mr. Kang said the staff at the mall noticed on March 28 that the painting had been vandalized, and identified the couple by checking security footage.

The couple were arrested but released after the police determined that the vandalism was accidental, the local news media reported. Mr. Kang said the couple told the police that they had thought the artwork was open to public participation.

The couple have not been identified and could not be reached for comment.

The artist, JonOne, said in an interview on Wednesday that he was disappointed and angry that his work had been “defaced,” although some people have said the publicity could work in his favor.

“Art should be religious,” he said. “You don’t paint on a church.”

JonOne said the vandalism of his work in Seoul reminded him of growing up in New York City and the feeling that his talent was not appreciated.

As a teenager, he would sign his graffiti with the tag “JonOne.” His style later became more abstract, although he continued to use graffiti lettering as the foundation for his work. Now 57 and living in Paris, he has described his aesthetic as “abstract expressionist graffiti,” a nod to Jackson Pollock and other American artists who redefined modern painting in the years after World War II.

Julien Kolly, a gallerist in Zurich who specializes in graffiti art and has exhibited JonOne paintings over the years, said that they often prompted strong reactions from viewers.

“Some are full of praise and others think that a child could do better,” he said. “Of course, I am in the first category.”

Mr. Kolly said that he wondered why the couple who vandalized “Untitled” in Seoul thought they could “intervene” in an artwork that was hanging in a gallery — but also that he did not think they intended to “destroy” it.

“I can understand that people may have thought that they could, at the very least, do better than the artist by participating in this work,” he added.

Mr. Kang said a decision about whether to restore “Untitled” would be made before the exhibition ends on June 13. The restoration could cost about $9,000, he added, and the insurance company may find the couple partially liable for the cost.

“But we are concerned,” he added, “because there are many comments saying that the artwork should not be restored, and remain as it is.”

View Source

A Graffiti Artwork in South Korea Was ‘Graffitied.’

SEOUL — The couple saw brushes and paint cans in front of a paint-splattered canvas at a gallery in a Seoul shopping mall. So they added a few brush strokes, assuming it was a participatory mural.

Not quite: The painting was a finished work by an American artist whose abstract aesthetic riffs on street art. The piece is worth more than $400,000, according to the organizers of the exhibition that featured the painting.

Now it’s hard to tell where the artist’s work ends and the vandalism begins. “Graffitied graffiti,” a local newspaper headline said last week.

Either way, the piece, “Untitled,” by John Andrew Perello, the graffiti artist known as JonOne, is now a magnet for selfies. And on social media, South Koreans are debating what the vandalism illustrates about art, authorship and authenticity.

The artwork is displayed with paint cans, brushes and shoes that the artist used when he worked on it, one of the exhibition’s organizers, Kang Wook, said in an interview. He added, “There were guidelines and a notice, but the couple did not pay attention.”

Some social media users have echoed Mr. Kang’s reasoning. Others say the sign was confusing and the couple should not be blamed.

A few suggest that the incident itself was a form of contemporary art, or that the couple’s abstract brush strokes — three dark-green blotches covering an area about 35 inches by 11 inches — have improved the piece.

The debate is notable in part because the crime was not intentional and the painting can be restored, said Ken Kim, an art restoration expert in Seoul who has seen the vandalized work.

The painting is part of “Street Noise,” an exhibition that opened at Lotte World Mall in Seoul in February and features about 130 artworks by an international group of more than a dozen graffiti artists. Mr. Kang said the staff at the mall noticed on March 28 that the painting had been vandalized, and identified the couple by checking security footage.

The couple were arrested but released after the police determined that the vandalism was accidental, the local news media reported. Mr. Kang said the couple told the police that they had thought the artwork was open to public participation.

The couple have not been identified and could not be reached for comment.

The artist, JonOne, said in an interview on Wednesday that he was disappointed and angry that his work had been “defaced,” although some people have said the publicity could work in his favor.

“Art should be religious,” he said. “You don’t paint on a church.”

JonOne said the vandalism of his work in Seoul reminded him of growing up in New York City and the feeling that his talent was not appreciated.

As a teenager, he would sign his graffiti with the tag “JonOne.” His style later became more abstract, although he continued to use graffiti lettering as the foundation for his work. Now 57 and living in Paris, he has described his aesthetic as “abstract expressionist graffiti,” a nod to Jackson Pollock and other American artists who redefined modern painting in the years after World War II.

Julien Kolly, a gallerist in Zurich who specializes in graffiti art and has exhibited JonOne paintings over the years, said that they often prompted strong reactions from viewers.

“Some are full of praise and others think that a child could do better,” he said. “Of course, I am in the first category.”

Mr. Kolly said that he wondered why the couple who vandalized “Untitled” in Seoul thought they could “intervene” in an artwork that was hanging in a gallery — but also that he did not think they intended to “destroy” it.

“I can understand that people may have thought that they could, at the very least, do better than the artist by participating in this work,” he added.

Mr. Kang said a decision about whether to restore “Untitled” would be made before the exhibition ends on June 13. The restoration could cost about $9,000, he added, and the insurance company may find the couple partially liable for the cost.

“But we are concerned,” he added, “because there are many comments saying that the artwork should not be restored, and remain as it is.”

View Source

Subway Product Placement Makes It a Star of Korean TV

In an episode of the Korean television show “The K2,” which takes place in a world of fugitives and bodyguards, a man is being treated with a defibrillator when he enters into a dream state. On the fringe of death, he recalls taking a past love to a Subway restaurant and to a park for a picnic, where he gently feeds her a sandwich and soft drink with the Subway logo facing the camera.

The detail is not a narrative quirk. It is a result of South Korea’s broadcasting regulations and the aggressive use of product placement in the country’s shows by Subway, the American sandwich chain famous for its $5 foot-longs.

“People joke, ‘If I had a drink every time Subway popped up, I’d be drunk before the first half is over,’” said Jae-Ha Kim, a journalist in Chicago who reviews Korean dramas. “Everyone here’s like, ‘I never got a Subway sandwich that looked that good, with that much meat.’”

Product placement in TV shows is a reality the world over. But South Korea’s terrestrial stations are prevented from inserting commercial breaks during programming, meaning many Korean companies must be creative about getting their wares in front of viewers. As Korean dramas have become more popular with international audiences, global brands have pushed to be part of the action.

world’s largest fast-food chain by store count since its founding in 1965 in Bridgeport, Conn.

Colin Clark, the country director for Subway in South Korea, said product placements in popular dramas like “Descendants of the Sun” had a positive impact on global sales, specifically citing markets in China, Taiwan and Singapore.

“I swear to you, it was a difference between night and day — before the product placement and after the product placement — the effect it had on the customers,” said Mr. Clark, who declined to provide specific sales figures.

an Irish court ruled is not bread, and its tuna, which a lawsuit claimed is “anything but tuna.”

But on TV, pristinely clean Subway shops pop with bright colors serve as the setting for business meetings, social gossip and dates for beautiful couples. Instead of cookies and tea, elderly Korean TV characters keep freshly wrapped Subway sandwiches at the ready — you never can know when an unexpected guest will drop by and crave an Italian sub.

On the popular Korean drama “Crash Landing on You,” North Korean soldiers and a South Korean businesswoman find common ground through Subway sandwiches.

Product placement in Korean shows began in earnest in 2010, when South Korea’s stringent broadcasting laws eased restrictions on the practice in an effort to increase network revenues and promote Korean goods. In 2018, South Korea’s networks sold $114 million worth of product placement, up 15 percent from the previous year, according to Soobum Lee, a mass communication professor at Incheon National University.

Shows collect an average of about $900,000 from product placements, although 2016’s “Descendants of the Sun” sold triple that amount, Mr. Lee said. It was also criticized by some viewers for excessive product placement.

Other American companies, like Papa John’s Pizza, have used product placements in Korean dramas, but none are as ubiquitous as Subway.

first episode of “Someway” has more than 1.3 million views.

“There’s humor in the advertising we’re doing,” Subway’s Mr. Clark said. “As a brand, if you take yourself too seriously, you’re going to end up always getting into trouble.”

Subway opened its first South Korea location in 1992. Now there are more than 430 Subways in the country, its second-largest footprint in Asia behind China.

To continually appeal to its target demographic of 15- to 25-year-olds, Subway is also becoming more inventive with how it is presented. On the drama “Memories of the Alhambra,” gamers competing in an augmented reality game collected valuable swords and coins by going to Subway.

In real life, newer restaurants with digital menu boards display the chain’s appearances on shows.

Product placement “was a relatively cheap way to get us brand awareness,” said Mr. Clark, who has also overseen collaborations with the K-pop star Kang Daniel and a limited-edition Subway streetwear release with Fila. “It was something the other brands were doing, but weren’t really kind of owning that space the way Subway started doing.”

commercial breaks on terrestrial stations.

Product placement is not likely to disappear, though.

Mr. Clark said that terrestrial advertising was too expensive and that those stations didn’t reach Subway’s desired young customer base, who frequently stream episodes on their phones.

Besides, the practice of product placement has already become a plot point.

On the show “Because This Is My First Life,” the lead character dreams of becoming a television writer. When she lands a job in the industry, her assignment is to jam product placements into the scripts of popular Korean dramas.

View Source