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Kyunghee Pyun, PhD

Dr. Kyunghee PyunAssociate Professor

Office Location: Business and Liberal Arts Center, Room B649
Phone: (212) 217-4648
Email: [email protected]

Dr. Pyun is a specialist of Asian art, Asian American studies, and European medieval art. She has published on topics related to Asian American visual culture and the reception of Asian art in Europe and North America. She developed her doctoral dissertation into a book on Jean Pucelle and has written on the Remède de Fortune Master and Guillaume de Machaut, all active in the fourteenth century. Her other research interests include the global trade of luxury and decorative arts in pre-modern Eurasia and Americas; usage and reception of visual art in context of religious performance and liturgy; interplay of word and image; and the history of art collections. In recent years, she has collaborated with scholars of Asian American studies.

Professor Pyun’s experience teaching the diverse range of cultural exchange between Europe and Asia has manifested in other forms, such as her article “A Journey through the Silk Road in a Cosmopolitan Classroom” in Teaching Medieval and Early-Modern Cross-Cultural Encounters Across Disciplines and Eras edited by Lynn Shutters and Karina Attar (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). She was a 2015 recipient of the Field Research Grant Korea Foundation for a project called "Decoding Landscape in Portraiture Painting: A Cross-cultural Perspective." She was a Leon Levy Fellow for the Center for History of Collecting at the Frick Collection in 2017. Established at the Frick Art Reference Library in 2007, this prestigious long-term fellowship supported her book project entitled “Collecting Asian Art: Discerning Languages for Exotic” as part of the Center’s mission to encourage the study of collectors and collections of fine and decorative arts in Europe and the United States from the Renaissance to the present day. She co-edited Fashion, Identity, Power in Modern Asia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) discussing modernized dress in the early 20th-century and including essays by costume/fashion historians, literary scholars, and art historians from China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, U.K., and the U.S. She is writing a monograph on school uniforms in East Asia, entitled School Uniforms in East Asia: Fashioning State and Selfhood (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming in 2022).

Before coming to FIT, Dr. Pyun taught at many colleges and universities in New York, including the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, Wagner College, Manhattanville College, Montclair State University, New School University, Parsons School of Design, and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. In addition to teaching, Dr. Pyun contributes to not-for-profit organizations that support visual artists and advocate their works, especially public art projects. She is a member of the College Art Association, International Congress on Medieval Studies, Alliance of American Museums, the Association of Asian Studies, and the Association for Asian American Studies. She has also developed programs and written grant proposals for the Archive of Korean Artists in America (AKAA). She is often invited to give public talks on broad topics of art and culture. As a curator and a critic, she has served on many contemporary art and design competitions, held internationally.

Professor Pyun is engaged with initiatives of digital humanities and global learning. She teaches the online courses East Asian Art and Civilization (HA221) and Korean Art and Civilization (HA229) at FIT’s Center for Online Learning and Academic Technologies. She developed a blended format for the course Art in New York (HA214). She participated in the Latin America Academy for The US-Mexico Multistate COIL Program (MCP) organized by The Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Center, SUNY in 2016. She has taught a COIL module with Professor Angelica Sterling at Universidad del Caribe, Cancun, Mexico since 2016 and another collaborative learning with Professor Ruiling Feng and Professor Yingjie Li at Tianjin Normal University in 2017 (coilcollaboration.com). Her collaboration with the Kansai University in Osaka, Japan was presented at the SUNY COIL Conference in March 2018. She also received SUNY Innovative Instructional Technology Grant (SUNY IITG) in 2016-2017 (tier 1) to create a web-based platform for educational videos, called Diverse Techniques of Asian Art and Crafts: Interactive Media (bamboocanvas.org). She renewed the IITG for 2017-2018 (tier 3) and has directed a larger project entitled the Bamboo Canvas: Instructional Innovation in a Globalized Classroom with a regional conference held in November 2018. Since 2014, Professor Pyun has co-organized the lecture series Primary Sources in Costume/Textile History and Design with fellow FIT Professors Lourdes Font and Justine De Young. This lecture series hosts four speakers each year and is funded by the Student-Faculty Corporation of Fashion Institute of Technology. In the summer of 2017, Pyun completed the eight-week Curatorial Workshop of the Korean Historical Costume organized by The Korean Society of Costume in Seoul, South Korea.

Professor Pyun in collaboration with Professor Daniel Levinson won a prestigious National Endowment of the Humanities Grant entitled Teaching Business and Labor History to Art and Design Students and built a digital humanities website providing essential teaching resources (https://businesshistory.fitnyc.edu/) in 2018–2021. Not only was this the single largest academic grant of its kind received in FIT history, it was a project that draws on the unique strengths of FIT as an institution that prepares students for careers in the complex intersection of art, business, and labor history. Pyun managed a university-wide faculty seminar for three years and hosted two large conferences during the project. Subsequently for 2021–2024, Professor Pyun received a second grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Initiatives (Division of Education Programs). The new grant of $150,000 is used to create new interdisciplinary curricula and teaching resources for a project entitled Shop Girls to Show Girls: Teaching Resources on New York’s Working Class for Community College Students (PI, Kyunghee Pyun; Co-PIs, Rebecca Bauman and Vincent Quan at the Fashion Institute of Technology).

Professor Pyun received State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities in May 2019 and previously FIT President’s Faculty Excellence Award in May 2018. As a Fulbright Specialist administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and World Learning, Professor Pyun was a visiting scholar at the Korea National University of Arts (K-Arts) in Seoul, South Korea for the project Virtual Study Abroad Curriculum at K-Arts in 2019. She helped faculty at K-ARTS develop project-based learning opportunities for virtual study abroad based on her experience of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) with international partners in Mexico, China, and Japan.


BA (summa cum laude), Art History, Seoul National University; Completion of Graduate Program, College of Humanities, Seoul National University
MA and PhD, History of Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Selected Recent Publications

American Art from Asia: Artistic Praxis and Theoretical Divergence, co-edited by Michelle Lim and Kyunghee Pyun (New York and London: Routledge, 2021)

Interpreting Modernism in Korean Art: Fluidity and Fragmentation, co-edited by Kyunghee Pyun and Jung-Ah Woo (New York and London: Routledge, 2021)

“Transformation of Monastic Habits: Student Uniforms for Christian Schools in East Asia.” Journal of Religion and the Arts 24:5 [Special Issue: Faith/Fashion/Forward: Dress and the Sacred] (2020): 604–640. 

“Art Competitions in the Age of Postmodernism: From Immigrants to Transnational Artists.” Journal of Korean and Asian Arts 1 (2020): 1–28. 

“Debbie Han’s Graces: Hybridity and Universality.” Journal of the Korea Association for History of Modern Art 48 (2019): 25–57.

Fashion, Identity, Power in Modern Asia, co-edited by Kyunghee Pyun and Aida Yuen Wong (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

“The Master of the Remède de Fortune and Parisian Manuscript Production circa 1350.” In An Illuminated Manuscript of the ‘Collected Works’ of Guillaume de Machaut (BnF, ms. fr. 1586): A Vocabulary for Exegesis, ed. Domenic Leo (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017), forthcoming.

“Jean Pucelle” with Anna Russakoff. In Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (Encyclopedia of Artists of the World) (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbH, forthcoming 2017-2018).

“Portraying Monks in Illuminated Service Books in the Fourteenth Century.” Journal of the Association of Western Art History, Vol. 45 no. 1 (2016): 149-184.

“A Journey through the Silk Road in a Cosmopolitan Classroom.” A chapter in Teaching Medieval and Early-Modern Cross-Cultural Encounters Across Disciplines and Eras edited by Lynn Shutters and Karina Attar (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 53-70

Co-Editor with Anna Russakoff, Jean Pucelle: Innovation and Collaboration in Manuscript Painting (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013)

“Pucellian Influence in Illuminated Liturgical Manuscripts around 1350.” In Jean Pucell: Innovation and Collaboration in Manuscript Painting, ed. Kyunghee Pyun and Anna Russakoff (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), pp. 171-96.

“Introduction and Korean Artists in New York 1955-1989.” In Coloring Time: An Exhibition from the Archive of Korean-American Artists, Part One (1955-1989) edited by Kyunghee Pyun (New York: AHL Foundation, 2013), pp. 15-22; 39-62.

“Asian Art in the Eyes of American Collectors, 1880-1920: Antimodernism and Exotic Desire.” Journal of Contemporary Art Studies 15 no. 2 (2011): 245-278.

“End of Iconography? Introducing New Trends of Iconology in Medieval Studies.” Art History and Visual Culture 9 (2010): 222-271.

“Foundation Legends in the Illuminated Missal of Saint-Denis: Interplay of Liturgy, Hagiography, and Chronicle.” Viator 39 no. 2 (2008): 143-192.

“Great Expectations: The Legacy of Teaching at Two Art Schools in New York.” Sculpture Review vol. 4 no. 1 (Spring 2006), 8-15.

“Leo Bible and the Historiography of Byzantine Manuscript Illumination.” Art History and Visual Culture 2 (2003): 148-172.

Selected Public Lectures

“Fashioning Modernity: Hybridity and Processes of Making a Modern Citizen in East Asia.” A public lecture for the Kennedy Family Artist and Scholar Series, College of the Arts, School of Art & Art History, University of Southern Florida, Tampa, Florida, 18 February 2021 [virtual lecture due to COVID 19]

“Impression Management in School Uniform Culture in Korea.” A public lecture for the Center for Korean Research, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 4 February 2021 [virtual lecture due to COVID 19]

“Evolution of Chinese Fashion.” A public lecture for The Sleeping Giants: Posters & Chinese Economy, an exhibition of posters held at Poster House Museum, New York City (27 February 2020 to 14 February 2021), 17 September 2020 [lecture video on Vimeo]

“Addressing Identity Politics in Modern Asia: Hybrid Fashion and Cultural Cross-dressing.” Keynote Lecture, Fashioning Identities in Asia, 2018 Symposium at the Center for Asia Pacific Studies, University of San Francisco, 4 April 2018

“Fashion, Identity, and Power in Modern Asia: The Modernization and Dresses of Cultural Cross-dressing.” Asian/ Asian American Research Institute (AAARI) Evening Lecture Series in New York City, 1 December 2017

“Predicament of Contemporary Artists: Represent or Subdue Ethnicity?” AHL Foundation Public Lecture Series 2012 in Collaboration with Korean Cultural Center NY in New York City, 30 November 2016 (KCCNY) (DAAN)

“Aesthetics of Asian Art Collectors at the Turn of the 20th Century.” Exploring Aesthetics of Traditional Korean Art. AHL Foundation Public Lecture Series 2012 in Collaboration with Korean Cultural Service NY in New York City, 14 November 2012 (video)

“The Decorative Program of the V&A Missal of Saint-Denis and the Liturgy at the Royal Abbey in the Fourteenth Century.” New York Medieval Liturgy Group Lectures at MOBIA (Museum of Biblical Art) in New York City, 15 September 2005


  • HA 111 – History of Western Art and Civilization: Ancient to Medieval
  • HA 112 – History of Western Art and Civilization: Renaissance to Modern Era
  • HA 204 – History of East Asian Costume (Online available in Summer II)
  • HA 211 – Asian American Art and Design
  • HA 214 – Art in New York (Blended available in Fall and Spring)
  • HA 221 – East Asian Art and Civilization (Online available)
  • HA 225 – Art and Civilization of India
  • HA 229 – Korean Art and Civilization (Online available in Winter)
  • HA 240 – Modern and Contemporary Korean Art
  • HA 271 – Japanese Art and Civilization (Online available in Summer I)
  • HA 303 – Tradition and Innovation in Asian Art and Design (Study Abroad)
  • HA 311 – Medieval Art
  • HA 383 – Art of the Silk Road: Cross-Cultural Encounters (Honors)