Saturday, 11 September 2010

A flat "non"?

Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is exhibiting in the Palace of Versailles – despite an 11,000-signature petition that he shouldn't.

Murakami isn't actually that provocative these days – it's more that his brand of pop art sits as a provocation-to-some amongst the baroque finery of Versailles. (Though judging by the promotional photo above, it sits in a rather good contrast.) It's a reputation of provocation – his plastic-pop/manga-style statue of a jism-curling boy, My Lonesome Cowboy, is apparently purposely not exhibited. In fact, such figures come from his glory days when his "flat art" seemed a challenge to, well… something. To me he's a faded "pop" star, whose collaboration with Louis Vuitton makes him more of an anti-Warhol of Japanese art rather than the occasionally cited Andy Warhol of Japanese art. Like the so-called "bad" boys and girls of so-called Brit Art, he doesn't so much shock as ride the modern shock-of-commercialism to sell things. Which is less "art" and more simple "commerce".

Some – Miss ko2 and the spunky My Lonesome Cowboy – were startling and fun. Others…? Well I leave it up to you to decide quality and your sympathies (or not) for the 11,000 signatories in Versailles…

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