13 February 2008

What Drew Me Downtown Last Sunday . . .

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That's the view from my place in line waiting to get into the Geffen Contemporary for an Art Talk by Takashi Murakami on the last Sunday of his big ©MURAKAMI show.

The art was great, unfortunately, they had a big fat "no photography or video" sign and lots and lots of security inside, so I wasn't able to take copious pictures of the exhibit.

His work is hard to describe, but think Heironymus Bosch + Walt Disney + Satoshi Kon and you might begin to approach an idea of what his work is like.

MOCA put up a bunch of YouTube videos of Murakami discussing his works that were on exhibit (parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight), just to warn you some are NSFW in a purely artistic (and very Japanese) sort of way, I recommend watching all of them. He has begun dabbling in animation as well

Above is a piece commissioned by Louis Vuitton, directed by Mamoru Hosoda using Takashi Murakami's art, design and input. Louis Vuitton had a presence at the show, too. Not only did they exhibit the bags Murakami designed for their company, but they were available for purchase as well (I'd say 'on sale' but when most of the bags cost over $3,000 and I heard one of the bags on display was an ultra-rare bag that costs $500,000, 'sale' seems like the wrong word).

Unfortunately, LA was the only stop for this show, and looks like the rest of his major exhibitions are all back in Japan. The response here was incredible, as you can tell from the above picture, the museum was packed. According to the curator, this show was the best attended show of a living artist in Los Angeles history. The show was a treat, the art talk was a huge dissapointment, unfortunately. Murakami doesn't speak English well, but he decided to speak in English for this talk, which was fine, his accent wasn't impenetrable, the problem was with the acoustics of the place they held the event. I don't think they expected more than 400 people showing up for the event, so they held the talk in a large room, and didn't have enough speakers to allow everyone to hear him clearly. Plus the sound bounced all over the place, so on top of his accent, you also had to deal with echoes, made understanding what he had to say very frustrating.

Still glad I went, just wish I could have understood more of what he had to say.

And if Murakami ever follows Disney into the amusement park business, I'll be first in line to check out Murakamiland.

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