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Culture Ministry mulls withdrawal of financial support for artist Lim Ok-sang

Aug. 18, 2023 - 18:22 By Park Ga-young
Artist Lim Ok-sang enters at Seoul Central District Court in Seocho-gu, Seoul to attend the first trial verdict hearing on Thursday, (Yonhap)

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is taking steps after artist Lim Ok-sang was found guilty in the first trial on Thursday of indecent assault, the ministry announced on Friday.

The Ministry said it is considering discontinuing or excluding financial support for Lim in accordance with the "Act on the Status and Rights of Artists." Under Article 35 of this law, the ministry may consider discontinuing or excluding financial support for individuals with a final guilty verdict in cases of sexual violence. In this case, national agencies, local governments and artist support organizations may discontinue or exclude financial support for up to five years.

About 100 Lim's works are displayed around the nation and some organizations and local governments have already taken down his work that was on exhibition, including the National Museum of Korean History and the Seoul Metropolitan Government, after he was accused in July by a former employee of indecent assault in August 2013.

Lim, 73, is known for being part of the first generation of the Minjung artist group formed in the late 1970s against the military regime to support Korea's democratization movement. His works have been exhibited in many prominent spaces including former presidential office Choeng Wa Dae, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Comfort Women Memorial in Seoul.

After taking down 6 videos related to the artist on the museum's YouTube channel, the MMCA has now removed information about the artist and his work from the museum's collection and all exhibition and educational program content about him on its website.