Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Takashi Murakami

My favorite artist at the moment is Takashi Murakami because of his mixing of art with Japanese pop culture and commercialism. I was thrilled to find out that MOCA was exhibiting his works at their Geffen Annex in Little Tokyo. Apparently, this has been their most successful exhibition to date. What this means for me is a big 'Doh!' moment since I had the opportunity to purchase some original works, and some prints of his a year ago. Some of his originals just sold a few days ago at auction in the hundreds of thousands dollar range and a few in the millions.

The exhibition was phenomenal - displayed in a somewhat chronological order. There were a dozen 'rooms' with different motifs including his cute yet demonic figurines, happy flowers, anime style ceramic sculptures, and mushrooms. There was a room with 500 mass produced items from his company - t-shirts, balls, mass produced figures, pillows, you name it. Upstairs was a fully functional Louis Vuitton boutique featuring purses designed by the artist (available for purchase of course).

My favorite works were his most recent. Murakami is beginning to combine his style with that of the great Japanese Ukiyoe woodblock artists, even signing the works in the traditional fashion, and painting religious subjects.

With so many artists covertly striving for commercial success with their 'high-culture' art, there is something refreshing about the bold, unashamed commercialism of Murikami, taking 'low-culture' items and repackaging them and selling them to the highest bidder as 'high-culture' items.

So now that I've told you what I'm checking out these days, I'd love to hear from you. Are there any artists you enjoy (new or old)? Any exhibitions worth checking out?


Melissa C. said...

I am loving your blog John! I feel like I know so much more about you now. Is that a good thing? I am a big fan of modern art, but I must admit I haven't been paying much attention lately. Thanks for the tip on Takashi Murakami, I'll have to check him out. My favorite is Wayne Theibaud - he was a professor at UC Davis and I worked there before I moved down here so I saw a lot of his stuff. I have a print in my office of his (not original). We had a great time with you and Susie and everyone else last weekend. We'll have to do it again soon!

Captain Chipmunk said...

Hey Melissa - Thanks for reading! I just checked out some of Theibaud's works online and he looks really interesting. He combines two of my favorite things art and food (especially cakes & pies!). Thanks for the tip! Let's get together again, but I don't know if I can eat that much meat again. :)