Ars Gratia Everything

This afternoon the lovely Nina and I, realizing that today was our last chance, took in the Takashi Murakami show at the Brooklyn Museum, which is just a short stroll from our home. If you aren’t familiar with Murakami’s oeuvre, it is both lighthearted and disturbing, playful and serious, and squashes high and low art, fine art and pop culture, and the sublime and the commercial into a single genre he calls “Superflat”. Some of the works are enormous graphic panels featuring a profusion of laughing daisies and psychedelic, multi-eyed mushrooms; others are anime-styled plastic scuptures, still others are Luis Vuitton bags (for sale). In one room little children say in the floor happily sketching a gigantic, happy panel of his trademark polyocular fungi; in the next was a lifesize plastic statue of a laughing, golden-haired masturbator playfully twirling a lariat of his own making.

Murakami’s skill and creativity are enormous; no less so, apparently, is his business acumen: more adeptly than any artist since Walt Disney, he has made not just a name for himself, but also a brand.

If you’d like to see some of his work online, the simplest thing would probably just to do a Google image search under his name. In fact, don’t bother: here, I’ve done it for you.


  1. eugenejen says

    Doesn’t Damien Hirst achieve the same like Murakami does? By pushing their name into a brand. This is probably the legacy since last century thanks to Marcel Duchamp.

    Or from another point of view. If goal of art in a capitalism system is to search for extreme rarity and maximize individuality. Then by making your own name and persona be the ultimate brand probably is the best approach to the goal.

    Posted July 14, 2008 at 10:57 am | Permalink
  2. JK says


    Just looking at the images (by the way, thanks for the link) I couldn’t discern the medium. Paint, silkscreen, other? Looks like something pretty neat, especially the part about, “within walking distance.”

    Where I reside, the only thing within walking distance is the mailbox. That is, when the temps aren’t above 95 or so. (Don’t mail me anything until October.)

    Posted July 14, 2008 at 1:35 pm | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    Good point, Eugene. Jeff Koons is another, now that I think about it.

    Posted July 14, 2008 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    JK, they are mostly acrylic paint on some flat surface.

    I used to live in a place like that; even the mailbox was a bit of a hike.

    Posted July 14, 2008 at 1:45 pm | Permalink
  5. eugenejen says


    Since you mentioned Jeff Koons. So I think it is very funny to see Jeff Koons celebrated his love for Cicciolina with a sculpture of him and Cicciolina having sex while our Takashi Murakami celebrated it by raising a statue of a huge anime wanker. Both are pretty good zeitgeists about the respective attitudes toward sexuality in its social contexts.

    And don’t forget the Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollack.

    Posted July 14, 2008 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

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