Sunday, December 30, 2007

Murakami exhibit at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

The Murakami exhibit runs through February 11, 2008 at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90013
With U. being home for the holidays, we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity for all 3 of us to visit some museums together. U. thought Astrid would especially enjoy this exhibit with the Japanese animation, and bubbly/wacky/colorful cartoon characters.

"One of the most internationally acclaimed artists to emerge from Asia in the postwar era, Takashi Murakami effortlessly navigates between the worlds of fine art and popular culture and is best known for his cartoon-like, “superflat” style. This major traveling retrospective includes key selections spanning the artist’s career, from the early 1990s to the present. More than 90 works in various media—painting, sculpture, installation, and film—are installed in five sections, occupying over 35,000 square feet of exhibition space."

We had seen some of Takashi Murakami's artwork previously when it was included with the Ecstasy exhibit collection. Lots of mushrooms, and childlike fantasy including a floating bench that would slide across the room when you sat down and picked up your feet. I have to say that the Ecstasy exhibit was much more fun and overall more of an experience, than Murakami's stand alone artwork. In fact this time there was no floating bench which was a bit disappointing.
This sculpture is called "Flower Matango".

They had strict security, with multiple guards in each room at every angle, and no photographs were allowed, so I was only able to take this one photo. The room has smiley faced flowers galore right down to the wallpaper. Think 70's Brady Bunch on acid.
In this video, Takashi Murakami talks about the sculpture, the thousand different colors used, and the year and a half it took to complete.
Part of the exhibit also included an animated film called "Kaiai & Kiki". Cute animation about a couple of friends (alien cartoon characters) who fly over Japan in a living spacecraft that looks like a huge blimp. They spot a farm down below and learn all about how poop makes seeds grow, and are given watermelon seeds by a friendly farmer. They grow giant watermelons on their spaceship and come back to deliver them to the farmer and the village. In the end everyone is happily eating, drinking, and playing in watermelon.

There were lots of kids in there, including Astrid and she was riveted to the screen watching the film. Her shoes also got a lot of attention in that dark screening room. The flowers on the side light up and flash every time she takes a step. But as for the art itself, Astrid wasn't so interested.
You might be familiar with Takashi Murakami from his collaboration with Marc Jacobs, the artistic director for Louis Vuitton, in designing the colored handbags that all the celebrities were sporting a few years back. Part of the exhibit included a Louis Vuitton collection. To go from viewing kitchy pop culture, to then walking through a gallery with luxury French leather handbags was clashing to say the least. Props though to Takashi for being able to successfully market himself and his brand.

Unfortunately that also meant that there was nothing affordable in the gift shop. I had wanted to buy something for Astrid, but anything worth getting was super expensive. So I passed at the kitchy Murakami flower pillow that was over $100.

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