Saturday, April 07, 2012

Understanding Murakami

So in reading a book called "7 days in the art world" I had a chance to learn a little more about Takashi Murakami.  Most people have seen his art work, even if they don't realize it.  He's a really interesting guy.  Even though much of his work seems almost like anime, it actually all started as social satire.  Much of his work is somewhat explicit and even, if you think about it for minute, disturbing.  Which is interesting considering most people look at it and think it's all just cute girls with blue hair and smiling orbs.  He uses ideas by artist like Jeff Koons, and then takes them in a slightly different direction.

He has this theory he calls "superflat", which basically means that elements of high and low culture have become virtually indistinguishable from one another.  He takes elements of things normally considered "low" art and incorporates them into things that become "high" art.  A good example of this is his design which is used for Louis Vuitton, you've probably all seen that ubiquitous LV with the bold colors on the white background.  That's Murakami.  It becomes and interesting statement.  You're paying a lot of money for something that is mass produced.  Yes, Louis Vuitton uses good materials, but you're paying for this really high end item and it literally looks kind of like someone slapped a bunch of bright colored letters on your purse.  And you want  those letters because you want everyone to know you spent a lot of money on a purse...a purse that looks like thousands of other purses exactly like yours all around the world...a purse that looks a bit like japanese animation.  Do you see how interesting this circle becomes?

He's part of a hugely financially successful machine and yet he's still "making a statement".  He's a very eccentric guy.  Sleeping on a mat and still working non stop, he's consumed by his art.

In 2010 there was a showing in the palace at versailles of his work.  The photos of his weirdly low/high art which look like exploding colorful characters being displayed in Versailles - which was known as the palace of conspicuous consumption of it's day - well, it's all very interesting.

How do you feel about the fact that some of his art work is the most expensive sculpture in the world - selling for upwards of 15 million dollars?

I love art.  But sometimes I think about what it all means - the way that art becomes valuable,  or doesn't as the case may be, and it's all very complicated.  Interesting, but also confusing.


I mean, did you really realize that Louis Vuitton print is like kind of maniacal frog-like eyes staring out at you?

1 comment:

Suzanne Barker said...

I didn't know this artist. I enjoyed reading about him. Thanks Lezlee!


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