The Art of Takashi Murakami…
Perhaps no one else is more synonymous to everything Japanese, cute and kitschy than Takashi Murakami. Most renowned for his inanely grinning stylized flowers, Murakami has spread his brand of art to some of the most important art venues in the world, among them the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, Chataeu de Versailles in France, and the Serpentine Gallery in London.
Takashi Murakami was born in 1962 in Tokyo but lives and works in either Asaka, Saitama or in Brooklyn, NY. His origins perfectly positioned him to comment on the culture’s obsession on ‘cuteness’ which is evidenced by the ever-marketable characters that came from Japan — Hello Kitty, Pikachu and others. In the same vein, Murakami, who may have been inspired by Warhol and Koons has taken on the business of art by easily straddling popular art and commerce. His factory Kaikai Kiki Co produces toys and t-shirts that bear icons from his art. And who could forget the collaboration between Murakami and the fashion power house Louis Vuitton? This partnership, which started in 2003 and only recently concluded in the middle of this year, produced some of the most iconic bags from the fashion brand and Murakami.
Perhaps due to this wide popularity of his ventures both in art and commerce, it would be easy to dismiss Murakami as just another pop artist, lacking any depth but his work, dubbed ironically as “superflat” is informed by the same Japanese art-historical tradition that brought to the international art fore manga and anime. This flatness, Murakami suggests is also a comment on Japan’s eradication of the distinction of class, where the country’s modern society seems to do away with recognition of high and low cultures.
Written by Jing Palad
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