Takashi Murakami @ The Brooklyn Museum

May 5, 2008

On what was supposed to be a rainy, gloomy Sunday afternoon, some friends and I endeavored to brave the harrowing trek across the East River to the faraway shores of Brooklyn, USA. The impetus for the journey was to catch a glimpse of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s exhibit at The Brooklyn Museum. As it turned out, the meteorologist had duped us once again and the weather was perfect. Fortunately, the museum is almost as easy to enjoy outside as it is within. The facade of the building alone is impressive and the terraced lawn out front is perfect for sprawling out on a sunny day.

Once inside, we were immediately greeted by one of Murakami’s creations, a twenty foot sculpture of an alienesque cartoon character covered with spatterings of neon paint. Bright colors would prove to be a theme of the afternoon. Murakami’s work is heavily inspired by anime, manga and other elements of Japanese popular culture, and it is his prerogative to relegate to the status of “fine art” things that would otherwise be considered “low brow” or commercial. (For those unfamiliar, Murakami designed the cover for Kanye West’s Graduation and provides the animation to the video for “Good Morning”) I guess you could say Murakami is a sort of Japanese Warhol for the twenty-first century. His work is definitely cool, in an over-the-top futuristic toy store kind of way. That being said, I thought the fully functional Louis Vitton store within the exhibit was a bit much. Granted, Murakami collaborated with the brand for several lines, and the in-exhibit store fits with his whole shtick, but I mean, really?

Regardless, the Murakami exhibit has plenty to offer and the colors will definitely make you feel like a kid in a candy store. If nothing else, grab an ice cream cone from the vendor parked on the corner, sit your ass down on the lawn out front and cool out.

Here’s the video for “Good Morning” if you’re interested. Quality is wack, but you have to go to the exhibit to see the real deal.

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