If you’re in the LA area any time between now and February 11th, you might want to check out the Takashi Murakami show.
Murakami is arguably Japan’s most popular and successful contemporary artist. He’s shown his work at prestigious museums and galleries around the world, including the Gagosian, the MoMA and the Pompidou. Murakami blends Japanese pop iconography, anime, sculpture, painting, toys, fashion andâ€”of courseâ€”animation to create a vast array of cute, obscene and puzzling art projects.
He doesn’t just limit himself to the rarefied white cubes of art galleries, though. Here’s a (cruddy but watchable) music video Murakami recently directed for Kanye West’s “Graduation”:
Murakami is interesting (and relevant) to us because he’s managed to blend his artistic endeavors with his commercial projects. He can design purses for Louis Vuitton, make a music video for Kanye West and sell mass manufactured toys and bobbles without tarnishing his artistic integrity. If anything, his commercial success bolsters his artistic successâ€”a feat that may be partially responsible for some declaring him “The Warhol of Japan.”
Here’s a decent introduction to Murakami created for BBC’s documentary series, Japanorama, that gets at some of what I’m talking about:
The website for Murakami’s MOCA show has several more videos that give you a good feel for the breadth of his work. If anyone’s been to the show, please tell us what you thought about it.
Thanks to our friend Shaun Collings for the tippage.