artist / participant
Takashi Murakami is one of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking artists of our generation. Rising to prominence in the 1990s, Murakami made his debut as a contemporary artist with the 1991 solo exhibition Takashi Tamiya. His work ranges from cartoon-like paintings to quasi-minimalist sculptures to giant inflatable balloons to performance events to factory-produced watches, T-shirts, and other products, many emblazoned with his signature character, Mr. DOB. Murakami was born in Tokyo in 1962 and received his BFA, MFA and PhD from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He has had solo shows at many top institutions including Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris (2002); Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2001); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2001); as well as large–scale public installations at Rockefeller Center (2003) and Grand Central Station (2001). Murakami is also internationally recognized for his collaboration with designer Marc Jacobs to create handbags and other coveted, must-have items for the Louis Vuitton fashion house. In 1994, he was invited to New York to participate in the P.S.1 International Studio Program on a fellowship grant from the Asian Cultural Council, and founded his N.Y. studio during this period. He returned to Japan the following year and founded the Hiropon Factory, now known as Kaikai Kiki, as a production studio to help create his own works, as well as nurture and handle production for young artists. Today Kaikai Kiki supports the works of several Japanese artists internationally. In addition to his work as an artist, Murakami is a curator, entrepreneur, and a student of contemporary Japanese society. In 2000, Murakami curated an exhibition of contemporary Japanese artists titled Superflat, which acknowledged a movement toward massproduced entertainment and its effects on trends in current art. The second installment was entitled Coloriage at the Fondation Center in Paris in 2002. The third and final installment of this series of exhibitions was, Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture, presented in 2005 at the Japan Society in New York in collaboration with the Public Art Fund. It featured works of popular art – animation, manga and video games– as well as works by the finest artists in the neo-pop world. Little Boy goes beyond the spectacular optics of Japan’s popular culture to identify the fantastic aspects of a darker graphic subculture. In his work, Murakami plays with the lines between East and West, past and present, high art and low culture while remaining consistently amusing and accessible. He is classically trained, with a Ph.D. in the traditional nihon-ga style. His work morphs the worlds of popular contemporary Japanese cartoons and historic Japanese painting.
The Pressure Point of Painting