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Japanese video-art pioneer honored at last

Shigeko Kubota blended sculpture and high technology

The poster for the Shigeko Kubota exhibition at the National Museum of Art, Osaka, features a 1972 photo of the artist by Tom Haar. (Original photo in poster © Tom Haar)

OSAKA -- Often, alongside many “great” male artists who have cemented lasting places in modernism’s canon, there stand faithful female partners, without whose support such venerable maestros probably would never have been able to realize some of their most memorable, influential achievements.

It is in this context that the revealing exhibition “Viva Video! The Art and Life of Shigeko Kubota” has rescued its subject, the Japanese-born artist Shigeko Kubota (1937-2015), from the long shadow of her husband, Nam June Paik (1932-2006). Like Kubota, Paik, who was born in Korea, immigrated to the United States in the 1960s and made New York his home.

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