Takashi Murakami

Description: TAKASHI MURAKAMI – A Red River is Visible; Kansei: Wildflowers Glowing in the Night; Krin: Stellar River in the Heavens; Krin: Azure River, 2014-2015
Dimensions: all diameter. 28 in. (71.1 cm)
Medium: Four offset lithographs in colors, on wove paper, the full sheets.
Notes: All signed and numbered 80/300, 83/300, 53/300 and 80/300 respectively in black or silver ink, published by Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., Tokyo, all framed.

Takashi Murakami (村上 隆 Murakami Takashi, born February 1, 1962) is currently a popular Japanese contemporary artist. He works in fine arts media (such as painting and sculpture) as well as commercial media (such as fashion, merchandise, and animation) and is known for blurring the line between high and low arts. He coined the term “superflat”, which describes both the aesthetic characteristics of the Japanese artistic tradition and the nature of post-war Japanese culture and society, and is also used for Murakami’s own artistic style and that of other Japanese artists he has influenced.

Murakami is one of the most visible and important Japanese artists working today. Murakami’s influence on Japan rivals Andy Warhol’s on the United States, and he is known for disseminating and promoting pop art strategies in ways unforeseen by American critics and artists. Unifying many strands of culture that are frequently considered in opposition—traditional Japanese painting with Western influences, the realm of fine art with otakulifestyle (juvenile culture obsessed with toys, anime, and video games), and commercial retail spaces with museums and other public venues—Murakami’s work is recognized for its ambition, polish, and fine execution.

Murakami’s artistic practice is expansive, spilling into fashion, film, and other commercial areas, but his symbols and interests come from deeper impulses. For instance, Murakami’s use of mushrooms in his work deals with both popular drug cultures and historical concerns. Curator Paul Schimmel, for one, locates the artist’s fascination with mushrooms in a story his mother told him as a child about being born in a city “passed over” by the U.S. atomic bomb. (On the day of the drop, Murakami’s hometown had too much cloud cover and was avoided as a target.)