Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Army of Mushrooms

I had totally forgotten to post about the "©Murakami" exhibit at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Angela and I went over Thanksgiving break, which was a lovely break for me from Die Familie.

Paul Schimmel did a fantastic job with the exhibit's set-up. Upon first entering the museum, one is greeted by a buxom transforming woman soaring overhead, a towering monolith of lustrous metal, two hyper-realistic figures in sexually explicit poses completely devoid of sensuality, and mushrooms of every shape and size. Although Angela and I wound up going through the exhibit backwards, it was still extremely fun to wander backwards through his art, almost like some trip through pop art history.

A few of the smaller rooms were plastered from floor to ceiling (well, to the top of the wall, seeing as there is not real ceiling) in brightly colored patterns, compartmentalizing the various motifs that recur throughout Murakami's works and literally forcing us to immerse ourselves in the colors and shapes of his universe.

Murakami's dizzying cast of figures, from the enormous Gero-Tan to the hilariously juxtaposed Kaikai and Kiki to the ever metamorphosing DOB bring a sense of surreal narrative to the world. All of his work is an excellent study in contrast. His paintings featured highly detailed and calculated cartoon art rendered with painstaking precision, but placed upon flat colored surfaces, deliberately obliterating the carefully crafted dimension of the foreground subjects.

His sculptures were equally impressive, showcasing a mind working in full three dimensions while still considering the demand for visually direct and metaphorically flat art in such a commercialized society. While the Inochi statues showcased a morbid obsession with the grotesque and awkward side of human nature, Hiropon (which I had gotten a chance to see earlier when it visited the SFMOMA for its "Pop Art" Exhibit) and My Lonesome Cowboy were evoked laughter for their absurdity and solemnity for their pointed critique of modern culture.

Angela and I debated what souvenirs to take home (the Kaikaikiki Co.-printed shirts were $69!), but the fully-operational Louis Vuitton boutique proved to be a much greater attraction for the more financially-stable museum patrons; there were tons of people purchasing the ridiculously interesting LVxMurakami bags. Say what you will about them, but they are pretty damned interesting and you can't call them a boring bag.

In the end, we wound up leaving with the same mug, a nice modestly small mug with two flowers printed on opposite sides. Considering that all it cost me was $5 for admission, gas money, and having to fight with the weather as to whether or not it would be necessary to wear my coat, it was pretty damned fun.

Now I've got my sights set on "Stylized Sculpture" at the Asian Art Museum.

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1 comment:

Angela said...

Oh fickle, fickle weather. You know, I did wonder if we were going backwards. But how could I not be entranced by that naked transformer person? And I think ...I liked the slow understanding that came with going from 2007 to 1998.