Bruce Nauman Castelli Sonnabend Tapes and Films
Flesh to White to Black to Flesh
American, b. 1941
Castelli Sonnabend Tapes and Films, distributor
Flesh to White to Black to Flesh, 1967-1968
Video, black and white, sound; 50:58 min.
51.3 min (running time) 51 min, 17 sec
Jesse Metcalf Fund 81.091
When the Museum began collecting videos in 1981, Nauman and Acconci’s were among the first it acquired. Nauman had begun making videos in 1967, the year that portable video equipment became available, and the performance video Flesh to White to Black to Flesh was among his earliest. During a single take lasting nearly an hour, he smears white paint over his torso, then black paint, and finally wipes his skin clean. Acconci advanced into new territory with his epic video The Red Tapes in the following decade. The work consists of three separate videotapes in which the artist explored biography, human relationships, and cultural history through a fragmented narrative of vignettes and collage.