Jin Joo Chae: The Choco Pie-ization of North Korea

Exhibition Review

  • "Jin Joo Chae: The Choco Pie-ization of North Korea"

  • Julie Meneret Contemporary Art, New York
  • 08 Jan 2014 - 23 Feb 2014

The sweet taste of capitalism is rarely sampled in North Korea, but in the demilitarized Kaesong Industrial Complex—the only area where North and South Korea have contact—Choco Pies are distributed to North Korean workers in place of cash bonuses. Made of chocolate-covered layers of cake with marshmallow filling, Choco Pies conjure childhood memories for many Koreans, much as Hostess Twinkies do in the United States. Demand in the North is such that workers, whose monthly income in won rarely exceeds the equivalent of $150, can sell the individually wrapped Choco Pies on the black market for as much as $10 (three to four times their retail value), according to the catalogue for Jin Joo Chae’s recent exhibition.

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