This Week’s Gagosian ‘Artist Spotlight’ Features Takashi Murakami

Perhaps only Damien Hirst has been so successful at tapping the veins of pop culture for inspiration as has Takashi Murakami. The main difference being the latter possesses an inimitable ability to reach all the way back through history and introduce the traditions of Japanese painting to anime, psychedelia, vivid floral motifs…we could go on…and create dreamlike worlds that have little concern for the banalities of reality. He’s the whimsy to Hirst’s sardonicism.

Those dream worlds have again been summoned, this time as part of Gagosian gallery’s wildly successful Artist Spotlight, for which he is featured this week. The digital program was launched in the early days of lockdown, and has now continued into its second season, as physical galleries remain a tricky proposition.

The specific new work that is on offer, the pithily titled Cherry Blossoms and Pandas, is pure Murakami, slyly blithe in its presentation, but with the sense of something just a bit ominous, even sinister lurking beneath all the grinning rainbow colored flowers and mischievous little pandas. Perhaps he is hoping to convey something about the teetering sense of life and death that has characterized our reality these last nine months of pandemic lockdown – evident in the faintly spectral skulls.

But, not surprisingly, he is far more eager to explicate his process than his actual work.

“When I manage to snatch the tail of an idea,” he enlightens, “I must then transport a fragment of it to a completely different region of my brain. . . . Once a deadline is met, that region can relax, so I graft the new idea onto that relaxed region in order to nurture and grow it.”

The asking price is $450,000 – inquiries can be filed at Gagosian.com.

Takashi Murakami
Cherry Blossoms and Pandas, 2020
Acrylic on canvas mounted on wood panel
39 3/8 × 39 3/8 inches (100 × 100 cm)
$450,000

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