Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami (村上隆, Murakami Takashi?, born 1 February 1963 in Tokyo, Kantō region), is a prolific contemporary Japanese artist who works in both fine arts media, such as painting, as well as digital and commercial media. He attempts to blur the boundaries between high and low art. He appropriates popular themes from mass media and pop culture, then turns them into thirty-foot sculptures, "Superflat" paintings, or marketable commercial goods such as figurines or phone caddies.
Murakami attended the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, initially studying more traditionalist Japanese art. He pursued a doctorate in Nihonga, a mixture of Western and Eastern styles dating back to the late 19th century. However, due to the mass popularity of anime and manga, Japanese styles of animation and comic graphic stories, Murakami became disillusioned with Nihonga, and became fixated on otaku culture, which he felt was more representative of modern day Japanese life.

In 2008, Takashi Murakami made Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People list, and was the only visual artist.
Unlike Warhol, Murakami also makes his repacked low culture available to all other markets in the form of paintings, sculptures, videos, T-shirts, key chains, mouse pads, plush dolls, cell phone caddies, and $5,000 limited-edition Louis Vuitton handbags. This is a comparable idea to Oldenberg, who sold his own low art, high art pieces in his own store front in the 1960s, but what makes Murakami different is his methods of production, and his work is not in one store front, but many ranging from toy stores, candy aisles, comic book stores, and the French design powerhouse of Louis Vuitton.

Murakami’s work is quoted as being among some of the most desired work in the world by Art News in November 2003. Chicago collector, Stefan Edis reportedly paid a record $567,500 for Murakami’s 1996 Miss Ko2, a life-size fiberglass cartoon figure, at Christie's last May. Christie’s owner, Francois Pinault, reportedly paid around $1.5 million in June to acquire Tongarikun (2003), a 30-foot tall fiberglass sculpture, and four accompanying fiberglass mushroom figures, that were part of an installation at Rockefeller Center. In May 2008, My Lonesome Cowboy (1998), a sculpture of a masturbating boy twirling a semen lasso, sold for $15.2 million at a Sotheby's

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