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Shigeko Kubota: Liquid Reality

August 21, 2021 - January 1, 2022

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art presents Shigeko Kubota: Liquid Reality, on view from August 21, 2021, through January 1, 2022. Likening video technology to a “new paintbrush,” New York–based Shigeko Kubota (Japanese, 1937–2015), whose career spanned more than five decades, was one of the first artists to commit to the video medium in the early 1970s. Formally trained as a sculptor, Kubota’s varied accomplishments as an artist, collaborator, curator, and critic helped to shape a pivotal period in the evolution of video as an art form. The first solo presentation of the artist’s work at a US museum in 25 years, this exhibition focuses on a body of work whose resonances are particularly poignant amid today’s digitally interconnected world.

The six sculptural works in the exhibition include: Three Mountains (1976-1979), Berlin Diary: Thanks to My Ancestors (1981), River (1979-1981), Niagara Falls I (1985), Video Haiku (1981), and Duchampiana: Nude Descending a Staircase (1976). The single-channel work, Self-Portrait (c. 1970–71), is Kubota’s earliest known experimentation with video and electronic color synthesis.

Shigeko Kubota: Liquid Reality is organized by Erica Papernik-Shimizu, Associate Curator, with the support of Veronika Molnar, Intern, Department of Media and Performance.

 

The exhibition is presented as part of The Hyundai Card Performance Series.

Major support is provided by the Jill and Peter Kraus Endowed Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions.

Generous funding is provided by the Lonti Ebers Endowment for Performance and the Sarah Arison Endowment Fund for Performance.

Additional support is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art.

Images

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Shigeko Kubota. Berlin Diary: Thanks to My Ancestors. 1981. Cathode-ray tube monitor, crystal, ink, and twine. 9 × 8 × 11 in. (22.9 × 20.3 × 27.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Modern Women’s Fund, 2021. © 2021 Estate of Shigeko Kubota / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Courtesy Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna. Digital Image © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Denis Doorly

Shigeko Kubota. Duchampiana: Nude Descending a Staircase (1976). Standard-definition video and Super 8mm film transferred to video (color, silent; 5:21 min.), four cathode-ray tube monitors, and plywood. 66 1/4 × 30 15/16 × 67 in. (168.3 × 78.6 × 170.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Margot and John Ernst, Agnes Gund, and Barbara Pine, 1981. Artwork © 2021 Estate of Shigeko Kubota / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Digital image © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Denis Doorly

Shigeko Kubota. Self-Portrait. ca. 1970- 71. Standard-definition video (color, silent). 5:24 min. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the Shigeko Kubota Video Art Foundation, 2021. © 2021 Estate of Shigeko Kubota / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Installation view of Shigeko Kubota: Liquid Reality, August 21, 2021–January 1, 2022 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Digital Image © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Denis Doorly

Installation view of Shigeko Kubota: Liquid Reality, August 21, 2021–January 1, 2022 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Digital Image © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Denis Doorly

Installation view of Shigeko Kubota: Liquid Reality, August 21, 2021–January 1, 2022 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Digital Image © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Denis Doorly

Shigeko Kubota. Three Mountains. 1976–79. Four-channel standard-definition video (color, sound; approx. 30 min. each), seven cathode-ray tube monitors, plywood, and mirrors, overall dimensions variable. Courtesy Shigeko Kubota Video Art Foundation. Artwork © 2021 Estate of Shigeko Kubota/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Digital image © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Denis Doorly

Shigeko Kubota. Video Haiku–Hanging Piece. 1981. Cathode-ray tube monitor, closed-circuit video camera, mirror, and plywood. Overall dimensions variable, mirror: 40 × 42 in. (101.6 × 106.7 cm). Courtesy Shigeko Kubota Video Art Foundation. Artwork © 2021 Estate of Shigeko Kubota / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Digital image © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Denis Doorly

Shigeko Kubota. Detail of River. 1979-81. Three-channel standard-definition video (color, silent; approx. 32 min.), three cathode-ray tube monitors, stainless steel, plastic mirrors, water, and wave machine. Overall dimensions variable, basin: 22 × 9 × 4 ft. (670.6 × 274.3 × 121.9 cm). Courtesy Shigeko Kubota Video Art Foundation. Artwork © 2021 Estate of Shigeko Kubota / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Digital image © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Denis Doorly

Shigeko Kubota. Detail of Niagara Falls I. 1985. Four-channel video (color, sound; 30:55 min.), ten cathode-ray tube monitors, plastic mirrors, plywood, water, and sprinkler system, 8 ft. × 54 in. × 8 ft. (243.8 × 137.2 × 243.8 cm). Courtesy Shigeko Kubota Video Art Foundation. © 2021 Estate of Shigeko Kubota / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Digital image © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Denis Doorly