Not on view
Stainless steel, military dog tags, nickel-plated copper, steel, glass fiber-reinforced resin and rubber
85 1/2 x 281 1/2 x 356 in.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art and Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph B. Schulhof, by exchange
Rights and reproductions
© 2001 Do Ho Suh
One hundred thousand stainless steel dog tags comprise Do-Ho Suh’s Some/One, a 9-foot-tall structure resembling a piece of armor or a ceremonial robe whose hem extends to cover the floor of the space in which it is installed. The artist’s use of dog tags was likely inspired by his mandatory military service in South Korea, where he was born and raised. In certain ways, Some/One seems to disavow individual presence: the scaly garment lacks a human form to fill it, and the dog tags—usually records of the essentials of one’s identity—are custom-stamped with nonsense symbols, rendering their putative owners anonymous. Yet, as the artist points out, “these many dog tags create this one, larger-than-life figure”—a collective or amalgam that also encompasses the physical presence of the viewer. Although Some/One is approached from behind, once we face its opening we see ourselves reflected in its mirrored interior.