My Life With Nam June Paik

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My Life With Nam June Paik

545 W.20th St.
New York, NY 10011
September 6th, 2007 - October 27th, 2007
Opening: September 6th, 2007 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Tues- Sat 11-6

Maya Stendhal Gallery is pleased to present video artist Shigeko Kubota’s solo show My Life With Nam June Paik, which runs from September 6 through October 27, 2007. As one of the first artists to explore the aesthetic, emotive, and technological properties of video, Kubota is largely responsible for video’s acceptance as a legitimate art practice. On view will be key works, some never before exhibited, which highlight the artist’s special relationship with husband and collaborator Nam June Paik (1932-2006).

The autobiographical is a constant theme throughout Kubota’s impressive body of work. She unites traditional sculpture with the electronic image to convey the personal, spiritual, and creative aspects that motivate her in life and art.

On view will be the self-portrait Jogging Lady (1993), a metal sculpture of a woman running while marathon footage plays on video monitors brazenly placed at her stomach, breasts, and mouth. Conceived as its male counterpart, or Nam June Paik, Pissing Boy (1993) is a work full of wit and playfulness in which a robot-like figure incessantly urinates into a bucket as Paik’s image plays on a monitor in the forehead. Also featured is Korean Grave (1993), expressed as a spiritual dome that echoes the country’s traditional burial structure. Sentimental and poignant moments of the couple’s 1984 trip to Paik’s homeland play on the work’s numerous video screens.

The show will also present two new larger than life video sculptures that will be unveiled to public for the first time. Nam June Paik I (2007) is composed of metal piping that abstractly suggests a human figure sitting on a mesh, orb-like base. The figure comes to life as recent images of Kubota and Paik play on monitors stationed at the head, torso, hands, and knees. Nam June Paik II (2007) exhibits Paik’s eccentric personality - he wears a belt and suspenders together. His arms are outstretched. In one hand he holds a violin, the instrument he smashed in his memorable performance One for Violin Solo. In the other hand is a Buddha head referencing his piece TV-Buddha. Footage of the couple shot over the years plays on 16 monitors placed through out the torso, arms, and head. Created in memory of Paik, these works symbolize his enduring presence as a husband and artist.

Born in 1937 in Niigata, Japan, Shigeko Kubota studied sculpture in her native country before moving to New York City in 1964 where she met George Maciunas, the influential founder of the Fluxus art movement. She became an active figure, embracing the movement’s collaborative and experimental approach to artistic practice. Fluxus introduced her to one of the group’s core members Nam June Paik, and they eventually married in 1977. The radical ideas and iconic imagery put forth by artist Marcel Duchamp also motivated Kubota in theory and practice. These influences, grounded in avant-garde beliefs, provided Kubota with the creative push needed to break free from art’s restrictive boundaries, and in 1970, she began using video.

Shigeko Kubota has exhibited at major art museums all over the world including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. She held artist residencies at the Art Institute of Chicago and Brown University, and taught Video Art at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She received the DAAD Fellowship in Berlin, Germany, and awards and grants from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Rockefeller Foundation, American Film Institute, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Shigeko Kubota lives and works in New York City.