Grammy Museum to launch K-pop exhibit celebrating Hybe, featuring BTS, LE SSERAFIM artifacts

The Grammy Museum will soon launch its first full-floor K-pop exhibit as part of its ongoing initiative to explore the music, culture, technology, fandom and business behind Korean pop music.

The museum partnered with Hybe, the South Korean entertainment company behind K-pop sensation BTS and countless other international acts, and its archivists, to provide attendees with an in-depth look at the company's roster and the ways in which they've evolved the K-pop landscape.

“Hybe: We Believe in Music, A Grammy Museum Exhibit" runs from Aug. 2 to Sept. 15 at the museum in downtown Los Angeles.

The artifacts in the 4,000-square-foot exhibit have never been displayed before in a museum — with the exception of a few BTS wardrobe and costume items. The pieces represent 78 K-pop stars, known as idols, and include outfits worn in well-known concept photos and music videos like BTS's "Yet to Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)," SEVENTEEN's "Maestro," TOMORROW X TOGETHER's "Sugar Rush Ride" and the Gen Z K-pop girl group LE SSERAFIM's "Easy."

Hybe's junior groups, known as rookie teams, will also be represented: BOYNEXTDOOR, TWS, &TEAM, ILLIT and more.

Three books from Big Hit Entertainment founder Hitman Bang's personal collection are included: Korean-language copies of Hermann Hesse's "Demian: The Story of Boyhood," which inspired BTS' 2016 album, "Wings"; Erich Fromm's "The Art of Loving," which informed their "Love Yourself" series; and "Jung's Map of the Soul" by Murray Stein, which lead to their "Map of the Soul" series. Big Hit Entertainment became Hybe in 2021.

“This is going to be one of the largest exhibits the museum’s ever curated,” Grammy Museum President and CEO Michael Sticka told The Associated Press. “They’ll take over the entire third floor of the museum.”

He says the exhibit celebrates the major music company's role in K-pop. “Hybe in particular, their impact on really the world of music is indisputable,” he says.

“The goal from the beginning was to shine a light on the innovation of the company, like in the technology arena, in the music business beyond the world of K-pop,” Grammy Museum curator Kelsey Goelz says.

Beyond the artifacts, the exhibit promises interactive experiences, such as a "random dance play" in the museum's rotunda, where attendees can sing and dance to music from Hybe acts, and a Photoism booth, where they can pose for photos alongside their favorite acts. "We're even going to have a little fan area where fans can express what K-pop means to them, how they came about it and, like, leave their mark on the exhibit," Goelz says. "This is the biggest and most in-depth K-pop exhibit we have ever done."

There is also a permanent "Mono to Immersive" interactive, where Grammy performances are remixed to demonstrate the evolution of recording technology, says Sticka. This time around, they've incorporated BTS's 2022 Grammys performance of their hit "Butter," which will allow attendees to watch the performance and experience what it would sound like to listen to it using 1920s technology and so on, up to the modern day.

Hybe COO Tae-Ho Kim says he hopes the exhibit will appeal to K-pop and Hybe superfans, those who are curious about the music and excited to learn more. He says his company aims to introduce Hybe to visitors, as well as showcase "the journey that we have taken in the global music industry and the global market."

“I hope this exhibit will be a great chance for our rookie teams — the new teams, new artists — to be introduced to the American music fans,” he added. “This can be a very good momentum for their entrance into the American music market.”

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