Takashi Murakami Brings his Monsters to SF
Murakami is perhaps Japan’s most famous artist, he blends traditional Japanese themes and techniques with contemporary visions, colors, and culture. His work spans fashion, consumer products, and curation, along with film and entertainment. There is a touch of Warhol’s pop, Goya’s nightmares, Hokusai’s tradition, and Mizuki’s manga in his massive new works. Hundreds of pieces, many made just for this new show.
His exhibit at the Asian Art Museum, complete with sculptures, wall-spanning paintings, and incredibly immersive rooms covered floor-to-ceiling with art, is at times breathtaking.Murakami has resurrected monsters from ancient Japan and re-imagined them in contemporary scenarios. Dozens of idols, gods, and demons as sculptures or framed in wall-sized epics that can span an entire gallery wall, or nearly sit in the palm of your hand.
“The monsters that Goya painted have traumatized me for life. At the same time, I have been fascinated by the specters in Shigeru Mizuki’s manga and the grotesqueness of the monsters in Ultraman, the TV sci-fi series. When I submerge myself in my own primordial feeling and draw spontaneously, what springs forth effortlessly are images of monsters.” – Takashi Murakami
Here is what it looks like walking around just a small bits of the solo exhibit:
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Murakami’s new colossal painting called, “Judgement Day” is a standout masterpiece of “East meets West”. Centered around the King of Hell, conflicts rage and swirl, traditions clash, techniques blend, and colors collide, almost like a rococo-inspired epic was made in a modern Japanese temple.
Takashi Murakami: Unfamiliar People — Swelling of Monsterized Human Ego showcases more than 75 works — including a dozen never-before exhibited ones — and delivers Murakami’s signature combination of fun, spectacle, and playful social commentary in his first-ever solo exhibition in the Bay Area
Murakami is unafraid to play with strict tradition, and reforge it.
During the isolation of COVID/shelter in place, Murakami began painting people through the lens of digital mediums like social media, watching people live through Instagram, and defining themselves through superficial imagery, which gave them swelled egos and distorted perspectives…becoming less and less human.
There is so much to see in this new exhibit, that must be seen at scale, and in person. The show is curated by Japanese Art expert Laura W. Allen, who also edited a book with contributions from Hiroko Ikegami and Masako Shiba centered around this new exhibit. This experience is wonderfully expansive, intricate, and reflective of this master’s work. Go see it.
Takashi Murakami: Unfamiliar People — Swelling of Monsterized Human Ego
Can be seen SEP 15, 2023 – FEB 12, 2024
@ The Asain Art Museum, San Francisco Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion
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