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Takashi Murakami

    Takashi Murakami, who has swept across the US, is vigorously, ingeniously self-promotional, reading Bill Gates for management tips, his work hits all price points. His “art merchandise”, dominated by a cast of creepily cute characters inspired by manga comics and anime cartoons, celebrates commerce.


    Murakami explains that his art process is “more about creating goods and selling them than about exhibitions.” As president of Kaikai Kiki, Murakami presides over an art-making corporation that operates from a campus of buildings, known as the Hiropon Factory. Today Murakami owes much of his success to the highly efficient Hiropon Factory and his hundreds of employees.


    The danger is that Murakami may obscure what art is, but retail swank is an aesthetic lingua franca today, and equations of art and commerce, pioneered by Andy Warhol and colonized by Jeff Koons, among others, are at least familiar.


    Murakami’s aim, it seems, is to control and standardize aesthetic experience, forcing viewers into an infantile mold of rote response. The best that can be said about Murakami’s new work is that he is making pretty money, stealing many elements from manga and anime.


    “Of course to survive as a fine-art artist in the West I have to have ideas, but my approach is more about taking things as they are… Look at Cezanne. We don’t ask, why did he paint mountains? They are just what he saw and he was motivated by what he saw. It is the same with me. I see Kawaii everywhere.”

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