Basquiat Burglary Bungled, Takashi Murakami Combines Digital and Analog

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Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960-1988

A couple walked into the Tagliatelle Gallery in Chelsea on May 14 and took Dog Leg Study, a screenprint by Jean- Michel Basquiat, from its display. The print was in the gallery owner’s office, which also serves as a private viewing room. Security cameras caught the man and woman standing in front of the work, photographing it with their cell phones and apparently searching for information about its value.

The couple took the work, and a third-full bottle of Maker’s Mark, and tried to leave the gallery with both items. A staff member intervened and got the screenprint back, but they walked out with the whiskey.

NYPD is still looking for the pair. There is a photo of the couple, who were identified only as ‘having an unknown European accent’, walking to the gallery, but so far, no arrests have been made.

Dog Leg Study is valued at $45,000.

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat have garnered some of the highest prices at auction in the past few years. Just four days after the botched burglary of Dog Leg Study, one of his works sold at Phillips auction for $85 million. Six years ago, Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa bought the Untitled work at Christie’s for $57.3 million.

Takashi Murakami 1962 –

Takashi Murakami loved anime and manga as a child, and intended to study animation. Instead, he studied Nihonga, the traditional art of Japan, and received a PhD from the Tokyo University of the Arts. He went on to create his own style of art, Superflat, and brought to Japan a genre of work that transcends and combines traditional and commercial art.

His most recent exhibit, at the Gagosian Gallery in New York, contains both digital NFTs and sculptures based on the digital models. “When I work on a creative production, I make no distinction between digital and analog.” he said, “I’m always working in the context of contemporary art, and that context is all about whether I can be involved in events that manage to trigger a cognitive revolution.”

According to the gallery’s website, “The immersive viewing experience, created by RTFKT and Oncyber, is accessible online via or through a VR headset and allows access to the entire exhibition from anywhere in the world.” The gallery is accepting cryptocurrency.

An Arrow through History opened on May 11, and will be on view through June 25, 2022.

A special exhibit dedicated to Murakami is on view at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibit features all of the museum’s Murakami works and new immersive environments. Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow will be on view at The Broad  through September 25, 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Takashi Murakami available at VFA.

Chantal Da Silva. Man, woman try to steal $45K Basquiat painting from Manhattan gallery, police say. NBC News. May 26, 2022.
Shawn Ghassemitari. Couple Attempts to Steal a Framed Basquiat Artwork From a Manhattan Gallery. HypeArt. May 27, 2022.
Jesse O’Neill. Suspects try to steal $45K Basquiat painting from Manhattan exhibit. The New York Post. May 25, 2022.
Steve Smith. Weekend arts planner: Takashi Murakami, ‘Fat Ham,’ Eddie Palmieri. The Gothamist. May, 28, 2022.

Takashi Murakami into the Metaverse; Keith Haring’s Works in Fort Lauderdale

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Takashi Murakami

The Broad Museum in Los Angeles is presenting its first solo exhibit of the works of Takashi Murakami. The show includes paintings, sculptures, wallpaper and installations. Highlights of the show are two gigantic paintings that were completed after the 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan. 100 Arhats, done in 2013, is 32 feet wide. In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow, done in 2014, and after which the exhibit is named, is 82 feet wide.

Both works are based on Japanese and Chinese history and legend.

In a New York Times interview, Murakami explained why much of his work is bright and joyful. “I create such positive images driven by my desire to dispel my unease,” he said. “Watching the developments of the Covid situation and the war in Ukraine, I grow increasingly uneasy. And I produce more work.”

Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow will be on exhibit at The Broad from May 21 through September 25, 2022.

Murakami was born in Tokyo in 1962. He received his PhD from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1993. He  planned to focus on animation, but instead majored in Nihonga, a traditional style of Japanese painting. His Superflat style is a combination of both fine art and commercial art.

“Japanese culture originally came from the Eurasian continent,” he said “and my concept has been to go beyond from there into the metaverse, shooting through the history of art with a single arrow.”

Murakami is entering the metaverse with an NFT project. The project hasn’t been completed, but already has Murakami fans placing orderers way in advance.

Keith Haring

When Keith Haring was 19, studying commercial art in the Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh, he saw an exhibit of the works of Pierre Alechinsky. The free-flowing works of the avant-garde artist inspired Haring to use the bright colors and bold lines that became unique to his art.

Alechinsky is 95, living and working in Paris. He and Haring met in 1984 in Alechinsky’s Paris studio.

The Keith Haring Foundation asked Alechinsky to write about his relationship with the young artist for the show of their works at the NSU Museum:

“We are in 2022.” wrote Alechinsky,  “I am ninety-five years old. My old brain tells me that it has just found a scrap of memory. On the port side: we recognize K.H. in P.A.’s workshop in Bougival in 1984. He offers a t-shirt decorated with his hand. To starboard: we see P.A. dedicating to K.H. a Chinese ink work on writings from another era.”

Haring often acknowledged Alechinsky’s influence on his work. When the Whitney Museum held a retrospective of Haring’s work in 1997, Alechinsky was asked to loan the museum a painting for the exhibit.

The works of both artists are currently on display at the NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale. Confrontation: Keith Haring and Pierre Alechinsky is on exhibit through October 2, 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Takashi Murakami and Keith Haring available at VFA.

Eilene Zimmerman. Dragons, Saints and a Sexy Nurse: The Art of Takashi Murakami. The New York Times/Art & Design. April 27, 2022.
Ola. Takashi Murakami Exhibition At Gagosian Bridging Virtual x Real Worlds. NFT News. April 19, 2022.
Jacob Richardson. Going Digital: Hublot and Legendary Artist Takashi Murakami Announce NFT Launch. Haute Living. April 5, 2022.
John Thomason. Keith Haring, Under the Influence, at NSU Art Museum. Boca Magazine. April 15, 2022.
Kutztown University. Schwank, Kutztown University Announce Funding for Keith Haring Fitness Park. April 25, 2022.

Takashi Murakami, and the Artists He Mentored, at VFA

Takashi Murakami 1962 –

Artist, mentor and celebrity, Takashi Murakami, continues to mix high and low art that speaks to a global audience. He has collaborated with Louis Vuitton and other designers. Murakami collaborated with Hubolt and designed a black watch with his signature flower pattern and, most recently the company has issued a full color watch with the same pattern.

Murakami was born and raised in Tokyo. He planned on studying animation at Tokyo University of the Arts, but studied Nihonga, the ‘traditional’ style of Japanese painting instead, earning a PhD from the university in 1993.

He went on to publish his theory on Superflat, the two-dimensional imagery that uses flat planes of color, His Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., operates in Japan, New York and London, promoting Murakami’s works as well as the works of the artists that he mentors.

The flower pattern can be found on many of Murakami’s sculptures, paintings and prints, like Flowerball-3D Kindergarten, available at VFA.

Chiho Aoshima 1974 –

Chiho Aoshima is one of the most interesting, and successful, artists mentored by Takashi Murakami. Aoshima was not formally trained in art. She graduated from the Department of Economics at Hosei University and then went to work for Murakami at the Kaikai Kiki collective.

Her work bears the influence of anime and manga, with subtly dark undercurrents in each piece. At VFA we have several fine examples of Aoshima’s work, including Building Head-Chameleon and Building Head-Palm Trees, done in 2006.

Aoshima has created public art installations and murals all over the world, from the Union Square subway station in New York to London’s Gloucester Road Tube station.

Her works are included in the permanent collections of the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and the Seattle Art Museum.

KAWS (Brian Donnelly) 1974 –

Through Kaikai Kiki Co., Takashi Murakami helped to promote  the career of KAWS.

The sensibility of KAWS’ paintings, prints and sculptures have a universal appeal and are especially popular in Japan.

In 2021 the Brooklyn Museum, the first major venue to purchase KAWS artwork, held a retrospective of the Brooklyn-based artist’s work, called WHAT PARTY. 

One of the pieces that KAWS did in 2020 is a large sculpture of his familiar Companion character, lying on the floor in a prone position. The artist explained his thoughts about the work in a recent essay in the New York Times: ” I arrived at the composition for Companion 2020 amid the early days of the pandemic in 2020, and its pose resonated with me. The character is lying face down on the ground, and in the space above it I can feel the weight of everything that is on my mind. I hope that viewers, too, can release their own thoughts, anxieties and feelings into that space.” he wrote, “As much as the sculpture bears that burden, it also represents a much-needed pause — a moment to recharge before getting back up and getting on with life.”

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Takashi Murakami, Chiho Aoshima, KAWS or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.

Don Carter. Takashi Murakami’s iconic smiling flowers have been transformed into a collectable timepiece. Creative Boom. December 9, 2021.
Paul Osmond. For the Culture: Why does hip-hop love Takashi Murakami? The Tufts Daily. October 1, 2021.
KAWS. A Companion to Bear Our Burdens. The New York Times. December 6, 2021.
Jason Rosenfeld. KAWS: SPOKE TOO SOON. The Brooklyn Rail. December 2021-January 2022.

The Healing Art of Takashi Murakami and Others

So much of Takashi Murakami‘s work is joyful and uplifting, that it’s easy to imagine why he would be asked to create a work to put a smile on the faces of children who need something to smile about.

Murakami is the latest artist to be commissioned by RxArt, a nonprofit that works with contemporary artists to transform “sterile healthcare facilities into engaging and inspiring environments full of beauty, humor, and comfort.”

During the past twenty years, more than sixty great artists have completed projects in 36 hospitals in the U.S. Derrick Adams, Jonas Woods and Kenny Scharf, whose works are available at VFA, are among the artists chosen because of their ability to create fun and uplifting art to soothe young patients.

The works are an inspiration to everyone who views them, but are done specifically to decrease fear and anxiety in children and adolescents.

Kenny Scharf has created works for the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s children’s wing in Los Angeles and the waiting room of Brooklyn Children’s Hospital.

In 2013, he was asked to create a mural in a stairwell of the Pediatric and Adolescent Psychiatric Units in Kings County Hospital, which is used by young patients every day. “I hope to brighten their day.” Scarf said in a 2016 interview, “I hope to inspire. And I hope it helps them to know that people care about them.”

Other artists who have taken part in RxArt projects include Ed Ruscha, Frank Stella, Donald Sultan and Katherine Bernhardt, all artists whose works are available at VFA.

Please contact us for more information about the works of Takashi Murakami and the other fine artists whose works are for sale at VFA.

Katheryn Romeyn. See How Takashi Murakami Totally Transformed Part of Children’s National Hospital. Architectural Digest. October 29, 2020.
Grace Ebert. Takashi Murakami’s Iconic Flowers Engulf a CT Suite at a Washington D.C. Children’s Hospital. Colossal. November 4, 2020.
Paul Laster. Healing Through Art: Kenny Scharf’s Gleeful Mural for RxArt. Whitehot Magazine. August 2016.

Takashi Murakami: Happy! in Fort Lauderdale

Takashi Murakami is Japan’s most well known contemporary artist. Murakami is known as The Warhol of Japan because of his ability to combine fine art and commercial art.

Takashi Murakami at the NSU Museum in Fort Lauderdale

The emotional impact of great artworks is the focus of Happy! a show coming to the NSU Museum in Fort Lauderdale. The show includes works from a variety of artists, and a range of styles, from the 1930s to contemporary artists of today.

“Many of these artists acknowledge that making art is an essential means for them to work out their own trauma and frustrations,” says Bonnie Clearwater, the Museum’s director and chief curator, “and they suggest that art can provide viewers with a sense of well-being that will help them cope with life’s challenges.”

With titles like, Open Your Heart Wide and Embrace Happiness, it makes sense that the works of Takashi Murakami are included in this uplifting exhibit. Happy! will be at the NSU Art Museum from October 27, 2019 through July 5, 2020.


Takashi Murakami is the father of Superflat, the style of art that combines anime, the art of Japanese cartoons, with ukiyo-e, traditional Japanese wood block prints. Murakami has a PhD from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. His focus of study was traditional Nihonga painting.

“I have explained the background of my art and its production consistently using the term “Superflat,”Murakami said, “the concept I came up with by overlaying the painting style of creating a completely flat surface with the cultural predicament of post-war Japan.”

His genius is in creating paintings, sculptures, toys and fashion that has universal appeal, which has inspired otaku…super fans of Murakami, who specialize in studying various aspects of his work. Murakami has factories, with dozens of assistants, in the U.S. and Japan. He is a strong supporter of other Japanese artists and of the contemporary Japanese art community.

Takashi Murakami at MoMA

The MoMA design store has included Takashi Murakami’s Dob-Kun figure in its fall/winter collection. Mr. DOB is one of Murakami’s most recognizable works. The character first appeared in a 1996 painting titled 727. Dob-Kun is nine inches tall and comes in five different colors including the original blue costume. Each figure has  the MoMA logo on the sole. The figures are limited to five per customer and one per color at a cost of $650 each.

The Works of Takashi Murakami at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Takashi Murakami available at VFA.

See More Takashi Murakami for Sale

Phillip Valys. Guide to the Arts: Top 5 visual arts events you can’t miss.
South Florida Sun Sentinel. October 1, 2019.
Takashi Murakami. Manga, Goya and ‘Star Wars’: The unexpected influences that made Takashi Murakami the artist he is today. CNN Style. July 28, 2019.
Kyle Chayka. WTF is…Suerflat? Hyperallergic. October 29, 2010.
Christie Lee. From KAWS to Takashi Murakami: why collectors are deadly serious about designer art toys. STYLE. September 7, 2019.

The Takashi Murakami Brand

Takashi Murakami barely needs any introduction in Pop art and culture. The artist has worked on projects with many celebrities like actress Kirsten Dunst, rapper Kanye West, footballer Lionel Messi and many other influential figures. For the summer solstice of 2011, the he even took part in Google’s doodles project and contributed Superflat doodles for decorating the main page of users’ searches.

But he still has much more to offer the Pop scene. In months to come, Murakami will be working with Pharrell Williams to put together the what is anticipated to be the ultimate Pop culture. It will take place in November this year.

ComplexCon will be an event that combines music, art and fashion that’s trending in current world culture. While the exact details of the line-up are yet to be made public, both Williams and Murakami have signed on as host committee members. Murakami will be responsible for designing the event’s brand, a fitting thing for the artist to do, as he’s been very successful in creating a brand for himself as an artist.

Takashi Murakami’s Collaborations and Style

By working with famous brands and keeping the general feel of his work consistent, Murakami has been able to build one of the most well-known artist brands around. He never says no to a new challenge, and has done everything from sculpting to creating short films and fashion accessories.

In one of his most well-known collaborations, Murakami partnered with fashion designer Marc Jacobs from Louis Vuitton to create a successful range of handbags, clutch bags, purses and other accessories printed with his art. The range was very successful, and helped to further Murakami as one of the current leaders in Pop art.

As an artist, he aims to promote and popularize Japanese art. He refers to the work he creates as being Superflat, which is a style he’s developed. Superflat as an artistic style is becoming ever more popular in both Japan and other countries. Murakami developed this style by combining older Japanese art styles with the new, more Pop orientated animé style that’s been popular in Japanese animations since the late twentieth century. Adding his own dash of unique interpretation to the art styles he takes inspiration from, Murakami has been able to perfect his own colorful, Superflat style.

Something that makes Murakami’s work stand out, would definitely be that it mostly seems to be lighthearted and colorful. This sets a mood that the broader public can appreciate. He often uses flowers or strange animé-like characters in his works and they’re very easy on the eyes. Set in even the most bland space, Murakami’s art would still look as good as ever and add an undeniable sense of personality.

Recent Projects

The artist showed only recently in Seattle with an exhibition titled Juxtapoz x Superflat. And next year he’s expected to have another exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Chicago. The exhibition is planned to be a retrospective of Murakami’s work, and the Museum of Modern Art hopes the reach the public with more relevant works through showing popular artists.

But if you missed the artist’s recent exhibition in Seattle and you’re unable attend Murakami’s Chicago retrospective next year, you can still see original Murakami art right here in Florida. At Vertu, we enjoy collecting prints by many modern artists, including Takashi Murakami. We have a few prints by the artist available that we are sure any Murakami fan would be proud to own. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact us or visit our gallery in Boca Raton.

Takashi Murakami Prints

Takashi Murakami Prints

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TIME magazine named Takashi Murakami one of the “100 Most Influential People” of 2008. Murakami was 46 at the time, and had already changed the face of both Japanese and Western art, had an exhibit in L.A. that attracted over 95,000 visitors and infused new life into Louis Vuitton.

After getting a PhD in Nihonga, the art of traditional Japanese painting, Murakami became disillusioned with the politics and limitations surrounding Nihonga and began to create his own style. He called his style Superflat, which creates depth using multiple layered images.

When comparing Murakami’s 21st century painting of Daruma, the father of Zen, to a 15th century painting of Daruma, it becomes apparent that, though his pieces are cutting edge, his traditional training has a great influence in his work.

Murakami has studios in Japan and New York, where he hires and mentors young artists. He says that it takes two to three years to train an artist to be able to perfect his superflat style. Murakami said he began using vivid colors when he was a university freshman, and an older student told him that he lacked a sense of color. The student bragged about her boyfriend’s ability for using strong colors. Murakami said that he found her comments were so hurtful, that he began to study the use of color.

Born and raised in Tokyo, Murakami’s family exposed him to both Japanese and Western art. His younger brother, Yuji, is also an artist. Murakami was also exposed to American pop, rock and film culture and, of course, to the Japanese comic book Manga style, which now has a global audience.

His dream was to become an animator, but thought he lacked skill, and enrolled in Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in order to improve his technique. He mastered technique, but could not go along with the rigidity of style and custom that has been part of the Nihonga art form in Japan since the late 19th century.

Murakami is steeped in both Japanese and American culture. He has created an album cover for Kanye West, and even walked alongside his float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “Basically it’s that I’m a foreigner,” he told Interview magazine, “but I really love American culture. That’s why I come here—I’m always looking for ways to connect myself with American people and that American feeling. I’m trying to pick up on the feeling of places, like the Los Angeles feeling or the New York feeling.”

Murakami’s work has been shown at the Palace of Versailles, and is in the permanent collections of galleries and museums around the world. We are especially inspired by the technique and colors that he is able to bring to his lithographs, using the superflat style.

See the Murakami work for sale at Vertu here.

Takashi Murakami

The Superflat World of Takashi Murakami

Contemporary Art never feels more alive than when we are granted the opportunity to witness the birth of a movement and experience the evolution the master who founded it.  Such is the case with Takashi Murakami, a Japanese Pop Artist who will forever be tied to the term he coined − Superflat – in reference to a unique style that blends traditional and modern Japanese elements with a philosophy and commentary about cultural stereotypes.

The Superflat world of Murakami pays homage to the flat, two-dimensional affect of traditional Japanese art and those within modern manga and anime representations as well. In addition to mixing these two styles – which share commonalities but live on opposite ends of the spectrum – the artist also seeks to “flatten” out the consumer audience to whom this style of art appeals.

Similar to Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and other masters of Pop Art, Takashi Murakami is creating a world where “high art” and “low art” intertwine. Like the Pop Artists before him, Murakami’s uses vibrant and bold contemporary colors and lowbrow subjects, lend a sense of accessibility to a mainstream audience.  And once again, It’s the context of the works within a framework of social commentary that wins acclaim from critics and collectors alike.

Murakami’s works are often scenes of fantasy with expressive tones that convey a range of emotions.  The artist mixes masterful color pallets with extraordinary subjects – ranging from joyful organic characters to psychedelic other-worldly figures – conveying emotional aloofness one moment, confused heaviness the next and pure whimsy the next.

If there’s one place where Takashi Murakami is most similar to Warhol and Haring, it is in the artist’s ability to seize opportunities, manipulate public opinion and attain commercial success.  Like Warhol’s Factory and Haring’s Pop Shop, Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki is a company that encompasses the production of paintings, prints, sculptures and assorted works using a variety of media.  The company is true to the artist’s Superflat philosophy, producing t-shirts, figurines and a variety of products that makes “high art” commercially available to a mainstream audience.  At the same time, Murakami “flattens” the playing field on the other end; turning “ordinary” items into works of “high art” for a thirsty consumer audience that has fallen hard for his unique brand of Pop Art.

Perhaps the most notorious display of Murakami’s commercial success is his collaboration with designer brand Louis Vuitton.  Murakami’s re-imagined line of handbags has been a huge commercial success for the fashion brand, while bringing the artist’s international celebrity status to new heights.  The collaboration, which was facilitated by designer Marc Jacobs and began in 2002, continues to reap profits for the prestigious brand and artist alike.

At Vertu Fine Art, our Boca Raton gallery currently has a number of Takashi Murakami works for sale.  Murakami’s works are simply engaging and fantastic.  In the U.S., over the last few years, there has been a resurging interest in Japanese art, particularly manga and anime, and this affinity fuels interest in the works of Murakami.  Of course, Takashi Murakami collectors believe that it’s the artist’s influence that has primarily initiated the trend in the first place.

If you are fond of the works of Takashi Murakami, stop in to VFA and have a look at the new works we’ve acquired.  And if there’s a particular Murakami you need help sourcing, we are always here to help.


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