Takashi Murakami (b. 1963) is an important contemporary artist, whose work employs popular culture and cartoon imagery. He works in a variety of media from quasi-minimalist sculptures and giant inflatable balloons to performance events and factory-produced products. His practice conflates highbrow and lowbrow art, as an exploration of contemporary Japanese society. Murakami coined the term “superflat” to describe the aesthetics of the art tradition in Japan in its current culture, which is now used to describe the style he has pioneered.
Through his work, Murakami has played with oppositions in East and West, past and present, high art and low culture while remaining consistently amusing and accessible. His work morphs the worlds of popular contemporary Japanese cartoons and historic Japanese painting. His recurring character, Mr. DOB, appears on t-shirts, posters, key-chains, etc. world-wide and has even come to life in the form of one of these 3-D sculptures. Murakami has also curated “Super Flat” an exhibition of contemporary Japanese artists.
Takashi Murakami was born in Tokyo and received his BFA, MFA and PhD from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He is classically trained in the traditional nihon-ga style. He has had recent solo shows at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris. Murakami’s work has been exhibited in prestigious museums all over the world, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and a recent solo retrospective exhibition at the Bard College Museum of Art. In 2008, the Brooklyn Museum held a major retrospective of Murakami’s work, organized by Paul Schimmel.