Like the other contemporary artists that everyone loves to hate - Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Lady Gaga (yes, I just categorized her with them) - Murakami has succeeded at blurring the lines between art and business, 'high' art and 'low' art. And I love him for it.
Attended Tokyo University of the Arts, earned a Ph.D. in Nihonga - a very traditional Japanese form of painting - moved to New York where he made it big, blah blah blah.
Dipped his toes in art theory when he published his 'superflat' theory in 2000, which posits that the common thread throughout Japanese art history is flat, two-dimensional imagery that continues in manga and anime (and Murakami's work) today.
Threw himself into the business world when he launched the Hiropon Factory (sound familiar?), his production workshop, which was later (rather balls-ily) incorporated as Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd. Basically, Murakami acts as the director of the Hiropon Factory and Kaikai Kiki, where his assistants carry out painting, sculptural, animation and design work under his direction.
His signature style is the superflat style - hand painted works that don't betray a single brush stroke, and look as though they could have been printed by a machine.
And that famous Louis Vuitton pattern? That's his.
|Murakami Versailles exhibition (2010) / via|
|Flower Ball (2002) / private collection / acrylic on canvas / via|
|100 meter long Arhat wall painting depicting the suffering of the Japanese people following the Fukushima disaster / Murakami-Ego exhibition / Al-Riwqaq, Doha (2012) / via|
|Murakami at Versailles (2010) / via|
THINK ABOUT IT
Artists have always created art through an atelier system, but it wasn't until the Pop Art revolution of the 60's that is became publicly acknowledged, as artists ramped up its proportions, and the debates surrounding it ramped up too.
Does it matter who 'produces' art? We acknowledge that most great masters had studios in which assistants painted and sculpted for them. How much ownership did they truly have of their work? Didn't they just affix their 'brand' to it just as Murakami does today?
at the MOCA Murakami website
and this fabulous interview that I found after I wrote this post.