Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
The United Kingdom and the United States were victorious in the Second World War. Pop culture was born there, it "popped up" amidst the prosperity of these "winners." Consumer society emerged among the victors. But we Japanese are the losers. We have experienced a long period of hardship and poverty. We were completely flattened, and have never been able to "pop up" since. I have a world for that: "superflat." The cheerful colors of my works may evoke Pop, but the backdrop of their emergence is completely different. The phenomenon that we can observe in Japan today is not of the same nature as Western Pop. Takashi Murakami in conversation with Philippe Dagen, reproduced from Murakami Versailles.
A Collaboration with Nobuo Tsuji and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Published by MFA Publications. Edited with introduction by Anne Nishimura Morse.
The lineage of the “superflat”: Murakami's vision of the Japanese aesthetic
Takashi Murakami’s irreverent, pop culture–infused art has made him one of the most recognized Japanese artists today. His bright, contemporary boisterousness, however, belies his deep scholarship and engagement with traditional Japanese art. Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics presents key examples of Murakami’s work alongside a rich selection of Japanese masterpieces spanning several centuries and arranged here according to concepts laid out by his mentor and foil, leading Japanese art historian Nobuo Tsuji. These include works by Kawanabe Kyosai, Soga Shohaku, Kano Eino, Ito Jakuchu and Hishikawa Moronobu. Beautifully illustrated with Tsuji’s selections from the peerless Japanese art collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as well as some of the artist’s best-known works of painting and sculpture, the combination of old and new in this groundbreaking volume enriches our understanding of each, and ultimately shows us how contemporary art can be seen as part of a continuum or lineage.
Takashi Murakami (born 1962) is an internationally acclaimed artist and the founder and president of Kaikai Kiki, an art production and management company based in Tokyo with a studio in New York City. He was the first person to earn a PhD in Nihonga—a form of Japanese paintings created using traditional materials and techniques—at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Over the last two decades, he has presented numerous exhibitions around the world, from Versailles to Qatar. His first major solo exhibition at a US museum was held in 2001 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, titled Takashi Murakami: Made in Japan. Murakami is well known for his corporate branding projects with Louis Vuitton, VANS, shu uemura, Issey Miyake, Lucien Pellat-Finet, Roppongi Hills and ComplexCon, as well as collaborations with musicians such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. In 2008, he was selected as one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.” More recently, he has been working on film and animation productions, releasing his first live-action film, Jellyfish Eyes, in 2013 and an animated television series, 6HP (Six Hearts Princess), in 2017.
Published by Editions Xavier Barral. Text by Philippe Dagen, Jill Gasparina, Laurent Le Bon. Photographs by Cédric Delsaux.
The marvelous chambers of the Château de Versailles boast such overwhelming splendors of décor and craft that it might seem the height of folly to pit the works of any one artist against them. But in fact, such a collaboration turns out to be a formula for great success, when the right artist is given the reins. Jeff Koons managed it in 2008, and in 2010, Japanese Pop impresario Takashi Murakami rose to the challenge. In a grand hall sporting a vaulted ceiling thick with paint and gold stands a snowman like construction, stacked spheres of grinning Technicolor flowers that sprouted gleeful tentacles and antennae, while a blonde manga minx in a near-pornographic maid's costume offers an exuberant gesture of welcome. This is "my Versailles, manga style," Murakami declares, throwing down the gauntlet to those who would preserve Versailles from such glorious and fantastical encounters; "I am the Cheshire cat that welcomes Alice in Wonderland with its diabolic smile, and chatters away as she wanders around the Château." Across 125 color plates, this magnificent volume documents the show's22 works, which included seven new sculptures never before exhibited. Takashi Murakami was born in Tokyo in 1963. Having studied traditional arts such as Nihonga, he quickly found ways to update their imagery through Japan's burgeoning "otaku" (geek) culture of manga and anime. Murakami's "Superflat" style and emphasis on readily grasp able imagery with an edge has led to a Warhol-esque production plant generating t-shirts, key chains and plush dolls alongside painting and sculpture. He has also collaborated with Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Kanye West. In 2008 Murakami was named one of Time magazine's"100 Most Influential People," and was the only artist to make the list.