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Randy Gener Announced as South Korea's Literature & Criticism Laureate

Randy Gener - the prominent U.S. theater editor, drama critic and curatorial producer - has been named South Korea's new Literature & Criticism Laureate and an International Artist-in-Residence of the Incheon Art Platform.

Gener's selection as Literature Laureate in the disciplines of performing arts and humanities/research was made by the Incheon Foundation for Arts and Culture, whose mission is to create and contribute to the cultural renaissance of South Korea. By fostering an ideal cultural arts environment, this nonprofit institution seeks to build the Incheon into a cultural city of international standard through a variety of cultural businesses.

"As a non-profit foundation, we are developing Incheon into a city of rich and diverse cultural arts, as well as, into a center of cultural exchange for all of East Asia," says the foundation's arts curator Young-ri Lee.

A a multiplex cultural arts center, Incheon Art Platform (IAP) hosts exhibitions, performances and year-round concerts, and it runs various events and educational programs for general public.

As Literature & Criticism Laureate, Gener will spend his time supporting artists, art researchers and humanitarians who wish to pursue creative activities in Incheon. During his stay in Korea, Gener is expected to produce new works (a play and an installation, conduct artistic research, and develop his creative abilities as an American artists through collaboration with Korean and Asian artists and institutions.

"The foundation wants me to give a workshop or a lecture," Gener says. "I had proposed to further my work on writing a new book. I will create a performance installation in a gallery space in collaboration with their Korean performers, visual artists and stage designers. My goal is to show Koreans a stickier national perspective of Broadway, American performing arts, directors and stage design."

News of Gener's selection as a Literature Laureate in South Korea comes at the heels of other recent honors in New York and abroad. This winter, he earned New York's Nubian Union Legend Award for Outstanding Leadership at a "Chasing Stars" Gala evening in Greenwich Village. Recipients of this unique award "exemplify unconditional sacrifice and service to the communities that they serve, and they stand as icons of stewardship to everyone," stated the Nubian Union, a collaboration by two nonprofit black groups.

What helped support Gener's candidacy as Literature & Criticism Laureate was the fact that he has worked as a U.S. critic of national stature and has represented American theatre and the U.S. media using both national and international frameworks. "Incheon will provide me with fresh opportunities and an institutional base to integrate different artistic activities while facilitating conversation," Gener said. "I hope that my post as Literature & Criticism Laureate will contribute to the foundation's goal, which is to promote the area while contributing to international cultural and artistic exchanges."

For two years in a row, Gener has served as curator, co-creator and producer of the USA National Exhibition of American Theater and Scenography which represented the United States at the 2011 and 2015 editions of the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space in the Czech Republic. "From the Edge," sponsored by USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology), features the works of 36 politically compelling productions from across America, selected by artistic director Susan Tsu and design curators Chris Barecca, Linda Cho, Don Tindall, and Allen Hahn.

Gener's plays, solo performances and directing have been produced and presented by NAATCO (National Asian American Theatre Co.), Item Design Laboratory, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, LaMaMa ETC, HERE Arts Center, Dixon Place, Grove Street Playhouse, Asian American Writers Workshop, as well as Odeon Theatre of Bucharest and Sibiu International Theatre Festival in Romania.

Presently the founder/proprietor of In the Culture of One World (cultureofoneworld.org), a live-event media producing project, Gener frequently collaborates with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S., the French American Cultural Exchange Foundation as well as the Goethe Institue, German Embassy in the U.S., Swedish Consulate in New York and the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C.

A former Village Voice staff writer, and until recently the senior editor of American Theatre magazine (published by TCG or Theatre Communications Group), Gener is the most decorated arts and culture editor of his generation. Gener is TCG's only American Theatre magazine staff editor - and the only Asian American - to earn the legendary George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. At the Malacanang Presidential Palace, President Benigno Aquino III conferred Gener with a Philippine Presidential Award, which officially designated him as a "Living Legacy of the Filipino Nation (Pamana ng Pilipinas)." He is the first to be honored solely on the virtue of an American theater career.

In 2013, Gener played a major instrumental role in a nationwide social-media effort and petition campaign, signed by 2,700 people on change.org. The adventurous Cuban-born playwright and director María Irene Fornés, 82, who has Alzheimer's disease, had been left abandoned in upstate New York. The campaign successfully transferred Fornés to Amsterdam House nursing home, where she has gained better spirits.

Incheon Art Platform, managed by the Incheon Foundation for Arts & Culture is a place aimed at mediating culture and the arts. Created in Hae An-dong, Jung-gu, as a part of the urban regeneration project of Incheon's old downtown, the arts center was built by remodeling a modern-style building (constructed in the late-nineteenth century) to contribute to the development and spread of culture and the arts.

Photo Credit: Scott Eastman


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