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Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami Biography

born Tokyo (JAPAN) 1962

Takashi Murakami (村上 隆 Murakami Takashi, born February 1, 1962) is a Japanese artist. He studied at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He is the founder of the Superflat movement, a postmodern art style influenced by anime and manga which comments on otaku culture and lifestyles. His inspiration for starting the movement was in a variety of eccentric Ukiyo-e artists and Yoshinori Kanada's dragon sequence in the anime film Harmagedon (1983).

His signature and most infamous works are "Hiropon" and "My Lonesome Cowboy". "Hiropon" is a fiberglass sculpture of an anime-style female, taller than average, with gigantic breasts and wearing an undersized bikini top which fails to cover her adequately. A stream of milk, which she is squeezing from her left nipple, wraps behind her to her right hand, resembling a jump-rope. "My Lonesome Cowboy" is a similar of a nude male holding his penis as he ejaculates a stream of semen which he guides with his other hand to swirl upward, resembling a lasso. "Hiropon" prompted Gainax producer Toshio Okada to dub Murakami the "Ota-king" after the character in his own Otaku no Video.

Murakami typically conscripts artisans whose backgrounds run closer to model and kit-based hobbyists rather than fine-arts craftsmen to design and execute his works. Another "low-art" aspect of Murakami's oeuvre is the decidedly commercial spirit in which his works are presented to the public, as his pieces are sold as mass-produced consumer items.

In 2004, "Mr. Pointy," otherwise known as Tongari-kun, took the form of a 28' sculpture installed at Rockefeller Center in New York.

Select Timeline

  • 1996 - The Hiropon Factory is founded in the Marunuma Art Residence at 493 Kamiuchimagi, Asaka-shi, Saitama.
  • 1998 - The Hiropon Factory New York Studio is founded in Brooklyn, New York.
  • 1999 - Takashi Murakami's solo exhibition DOB in the Strange Forest is held at the Parco Department Store Gallery in Shibuya.
  • 2000 - Takashi Murakami exhibits together with Miltos Manetas at the Italian Gallery Pinksummer. The exhibition is called "Murakami-Manetas" and it that occasion the two artists hold a conference at the Brera ArtSchool in Milan where Murakami introduces his ideas for the SuperFlat and Manetas his ideas for what became the Neen art movement.
  • 2000 - The Hiropon Factory website is launched.
  • 2000 - Takashi Murakami curates the Superflat exhibition at the Parco Department Store Gallery in Shibuya.
  • 2001 - Takashi Murakami curates the Superflat exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
  • 2001 - Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. is founded and capitalized at 3,000,000 yen; takes over operation of the Hiropon Factory.]
  • 2001 - Studio #4, specializing in the production of sculpture and other three dimensional artworks, is established in Shiki-shi, Saitama.
  • 2001 - Studio #3 is established in the Marunuma Art Residence premises.
  • 2001 - An i-mode website "Geijutsu Dojo GP" is launched.
  • 2001 - Takashi Murakami solo exhibition "Summon Monsters? Open the Door? Heal? Or Die?" is unveiled at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.
  • 2001 - "Geijutsu Dojo Grand Prix," a Takashi Murakami solo exhibition related special event is held.
  • 2002 - "GEISAI #1" is held at the Tokyo Tower Amusement Hall
  • 2002 - Takashi Murakami curates "Coloriage" exhibition at the Cartier Foundation in Paris; Takashi Murakami's solo exhibition "Kawaii Summer Vacation" is held at the Cartier Foundation in Paris.
  • 2002 - "GEISAI #2" is held at the Tokyo Big Sight West 4 Hall
  • 2003 - "GEISAI #3" is held at the Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall A
  • 2003 - "GEISAI #4" is held at the Tokyo Big Sight West 4 Hall
  • 2003 - "GEISAI Museum" is held at the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower on the 24th Floor
  • 2004 - "Kaikai Kiki Animation Studio" is established at 4-1, Daikanyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. "GEISAI #5" is held at the Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall A
  • 2004 - "GEISAI #6" is held at the Tokyo Big Sight East 4 Hall
  • 2004 - "Kaikai Kiki Animation Studio Homepage" is launched.
  • 2005 - "GEISAI #7" is held at the Tokyo Big Sight East 4 Hall
  • 2005 - Takashi Murakami curates "Little Boy" exhibition at the Japan Society in New York.

Select Exhibitions

  • 2004 - Inochi, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, USA
  • 2004 - Tokyo Girls Bravo, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
  • 2003 - Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
  • 2003 - Super Flat Monoglam, Louis Vuitton, Tokyo
  • 2002 - Takashi Murakami Kaikaikiki, Kawaii! Vacances d'ete, Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Paris, France.
  • 2002 - Tokyo Girls Bravo 2 , Nadiff, Tokyo
  • 2002 - Coloriage, Fondation Cartire popur l 'art contemporain, Paris
  • 2001 - Zombie Festival, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.
  • 2001 - Takashi Murakami Solo Exhibition:summon monsters open the door heal or die :, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Tokyo.
  • 2001 - Takashi Murakami: Made In Japan , Museum of Fine Arts, Boston , Boston, USA
  • 2001 - Takashi Murakami: Mushroom , Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, U.S.A.
  • 2001 - Takashi Murakami: WINK: An Installation of New York by Takashi Murakami , Grand Central Terminal Vanderbilt Hall, New York, U.S.A.
  • 2001 - Takashi Murakami: KAI KAI KI KI , Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France
  • 2000 - Second Misson Project Ko2 , P.S.1, New York, USA
  • 2000 - KAI KAI KI KI: SUPER FLAT , ISSEY MIYAKE MEN, Tokyo, Japan1.
  • 2000 - SUPERFLAT , The MOCA Gallery, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA
  • 1999 - Tokyo Girls Bravo, NADiff, Tokyo
  • 1999 - Hiropon Show, Parco LOGOS Gallery, Tokyo
  • 1998 - Ero Pop Tokyo, George's, Los Angeles, USA

Select Artwork

  • Reverse Double Helix, 2005
  • Homage to Francis Bacon ( portrait of George Dyer ), 2004
  • Green Flower, 2001
  • Skulls Rock

Quotes

  • "If my art looks positive and cheerful, I would doubt my art was accepted in the contemporary art scene. My art is not Pop art. It is a record of the struggle of the discriminated people."
  • "I express hopelessness."
  • "When I consider what Japanese culture is like, the answer is that it all is subculture. Therefore, art is unnecessary."
  • "I wanted to be commercially successful. I just wanted to make a living in the "entertainment" world, but since then my motivation has changed."

Publications

  • My Reality: Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese Animation - by Jeff Fleming, Susan Lubowsky Talbott, Takashi Murakami, Susan Lubowsky Talbott, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Des Moines Art Center; 1st edition (September 15, 2001)
  • Kyozon: Mariko Mori, Takashi Murakami - by Susan Edelstein, Kamloops Art Gallery (January 2002)
  • Takashi Murakami: The Meaning of the Nonsense of the Meaning - by Amanda Cruz, Dana Friis-Hansen, Midori Matsui, Harry N. Abrams (March 1, 2000)

Quick Facts

  • Murakami works in both fine arts media, such as painting; as well as digital and commercial media.
  • In 1996, Murakami founded the Hiropon factory. The factory was originally just a group of assistants that helped him to produce his sculptures and paintings. However, as new projects came in and the need for a dramatic increase in the volume of his work arose, the Hiropon factory gradually grew to a point in 2001, at the same time as his solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, into a professional art production and artist management organization.
  • Murakami has been quoted many times as saying Bill Gates is one of his greatest influences. He has said that some of KaiKai Kiki's success and efficiency can be attributed to ideas and practices Murakami gained after reading Gates' Speed of Thought.
  • Art production at Kaikai Kiki, generally goes something like this. Murakami formulates an idea or sketch in any one of hundreds of pocket sized sketchbooks, then it is resketched in a larger notebook, from where it is scanned into Adobe Illustrator and this is the last phase that Murakami is directly involved with, his assistants then print out the full scale image, then silkscreen it onto canvas, and his assistants paint the canvas. In this fashion Murakami is able to produce a considerable oeuvre.
  • GEISAI is an open-application event, where artists or galleries rent booths to display their work. This is a one-day event where about 1,000 artists and a few galleries participate, and it draws professionals and enthusiasts alike from all over the world.
  • His signature and most infamous works are "Hiropon" and "My Lonesome Cowboy".

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