Here Is Every. Four Decades of Contemporary Art

Shigeko Kubota. Shigeko Kubota. Duchampiana: Nude Descending a Staircase. 1976

Super 8mm film transferred to video and color-synthesized video (color, silent), monitors, and plywood, 66 1/4 x 30 15/16 x 67" (168.3 x 78.6 x 170.2 cm). Gift of Margot and John Ernst, Agnes Gund, and Barbara Pine. © 2018 Shigeko Kubota

Artist, Shigeko Kubota: My name is Shigeko Kubota. I was born in Japan on the mountainside, near the Sea of Japan.

Curator, Erica Papernik Shimizu: In the mid-1970s, Kubota, then living in New York, made a series of video sculptures that reinterpret works by the artist Marcel Duchamp. Here she used different frame rates, shooting in both film and video, to transform Duchamp’s painting of a nude in motion.

Shigeko Kubota: Duchamp's Nude Descending, he's cutting time, slashing in time. I said this is a very beautiful movement. Can I show it on video? Video's good for cutting in time, changing in time, fast or slower or freeze, you know.

Erica Papernik Shimizu: Kubota shot the footage in the lobby of Anthology Film Archives, in lower Manhattan. Filmmaker Sheila McLaughlin agreed to be the subject.

Shigeko Kubota: It was a cold winter day. We covered all the glass window, so people don't see us. She was gorgeous and pretty and elegant. I respected her body movement of descending down, and up, descending down.

Erica Papernik Shimizu: The image of the nude repeats across four television monitors, which are concealed within a plywood staircase. The staircase, in addition to referencing the one in the painting, served a practical purpose: it hid the brand name on the monitors.

Shigeko Kubota: I buy the Sony TV, but I didn't want to show it to Sony. I thought a wooden box is better to hide the company's name. Natural, organic material to the video, like, you know, shining movies, light coming from the box. Beautiful. Magic I thought.

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