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BTS leader RM's special love of Korean paintings
When South Korea's biggest annual art show, the Korean International Art Fair, was on its course at the COEX convention center in southern Seoul on Sept. 26, a tall young man came to the venue, his face shaded under a cap.

He turned to the show's booth allotted to Johyun Gallery and stood planted for a long while in front of flower and bird paintings by Korean master painter Kim Chong-hak.

A gallery employee walked him through the collection, but it was only after the man left the exhibition that the employee found out that the visitor was RM, the leader of K-pop global sensation BTS. 

(BTS' Twitter)
(BTS' Twitter)

RM again showed up unannounced for a Korean art exhibition at the Jeongdong 1928 Art Center in central Seoul on Oct. 5, where he stayed two hours to savor a calligraphy work by legendary Korean painter Kim Whan-ki and some 70 more Korean paintings.

Prohibitively hectic global engagements, including a concert for which RM and the six other BTS members flew to the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh the following week, couldn't stop the art-loving K-pop star's pursuit of major art events across his home country.

His love of art is not a secret to his fans after RM, whose legal name is Kim Nam-joon, has frequently tweeted photos of his visits to art museums and galleries around the world.

His attachment to Korean paintings and painters is, however, something out of the ordinary.

Nam-joon has hardly missed major art exhibitions in his home country, and his footprints have often drawn a hoard of other art lovers to the art venues he has visited.

He took time out of his busy schedule during BTS' latest concerts in Busan in June to pay a brief visit to Busan Museum of Art to savor a special exhibition featuring master Korean painter Lee Ufan.

His message left on the visitors' book of the exhibition -- "I was here to enjoy (the exhibition). Master, I like your 'Wind' (series)" -- made a splash among his fans.

Late painter Kim Whan-ki apparently seems to be one of RM's favorite artists. He has toured modern Korean art exhibitions by Buk-Seoul Museum of Art and Ho-am Art Museum, south of Seoul, both of which featured painting works by the master artist.

RM tweeted photos of his visit to Ho-am earlier this month with the message, "Moon is up."

During BTS' recent five-week summer break, RM went all the way and indulged himself in his love of Korean art. He flew to Venice, Italy, to watch a special retrospective exhibition of Korean painter Yun Hyong-keun held at the ancient city's Portuny Museum.

Art circles in South Korea are excited about and welcoming of Nam-joon's serious interest in Korean art.

"Seeing an idol singer relentlessly following Korean art, I thought that the Korean art world is not stripped of its future," Lee Seung-hyun, an artistic director at the Jeongdong 1928 Art Center, told Yonhap News Agency.

Having personally met RM, Jeong Jong-hyo, an academic at Busan Museum of Art, has posted an SNS message about the K-pop star's lucid knowledge about Korean modern and contemporary artists and art history.

"It's not a coincidence that BTS' lyrics and songs (have such depth)," he has said. (Yonhap)
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