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.
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.
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.