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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Critiquing the Nude: Kusama, Kubota, and Kihara Appropriate Duchamp’s Nude

  • Author(s): Ching, Kylie
  • Advisor(s): Whiting, Cecile
  • Winther-Tamaki, Bert
  • et al.
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Almost sixty years after Duchamp completed Nude Descending a Staircase (No.2) in 1912, Japanese American artists, Yayoi Kusama and Shigeko Kubota implicitly and explicitly appropriated Duchamp’s work in Traveling Life (1963) and Duchampiana: Nude Descending a Staircase (1976). Several decades after Kusama and Kubota completed their works, a Japanese-Samoan artist based in New Zealand, Shigeyuki Kihara, explicitly appropriated Duchamp’s Nude as well in Maui Descending a Staircase II (After Duchamp) (2015). The lengthy time span between these works and their striking visual parallels suggest that there is still something suggestive in Duchamp’s nude, especially to artists who have been marginalized from the art world because of their gender and ethnicity. I argue that these artists reworked Duchamp’s nude to provide feminist and postcolonial critiques of the artistic category of the nude.

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This item is under embargo until June 6, 2023.