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Like many people, I have an instinctive suspicion of conceptual art, regarding its practitioners in the same league as politicians, lawyers and snake oil salesmen; namely, hot-air artists who rely too much on words to win us over to their dubious concepts. Art should effortlessly speak for itself, but conceptual art always seems to require additional help, usually in the form of over-intellectualized catalog essays or Gnostic hints and pronouncements from curator and artist alike.

Nevertheless, there is something disarming and engaging about Korean conceptual artist Jae-Eun Choi, which encourages an attitude of trust toward her new exhibition, “Forests of Asoka,” at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art. Perhaps it’s her quaint-looking spectacles or the musical trill of her voice, or it could just be the slightly naive way she openly uses her iPhone to dig up philosophical gobbets from the likes of Plutarch, Heraclitus and Borges.

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