Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-Amada Cruz, the director of the Center for Curatorial Studies Museum will give special tours of the current exhibition, "The meaning of nonsense of the meaning," which features the works of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Cruz is also the co-curator of the exhibition with Dana Friis-Hansen, senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. The exhibition will be on view at the CCS Museum through September 12.

The special tours will take place on Thursdays, July 8 and 29; and August 5, 12, 19, and 26 at 1:15 p.m. There is no prior registration needed for the tours, and they are free and open to the public. The tours begin in the lobby of the CCS Museum.

Takashi Murakami finds inspiration for his painting and sculpture in images from both historical Japanese traditions and current Japanese popular culture. He borrows from Japanese cartoons, (manga), animation (anime) and cute promotional characters for much of the imagery in his paintings, sculptures, and inflatables. He exaggerates these figures to the point of vulgarity in works that are both tours de force of the grotesque and wry political commentaries on the imagery promoted by marketers and advertisers in Japan.

Murakami, born in 1962, lives in Tokyo and New York City. He attended the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, where in 1993 he received the school's first Ph.D. in Nihonga, a Meiji-era painting style that evolved after the 1869 opening of Japan to the West. Nihonga incorporates traditional Japanese subject matter and materials with Western techniques such as modeling and shading. Nihonga (Nihon means Japan; ga, -continued- painting) is differentiated from the Yoga style of the same era, which means Western painting. In his paintings and inflatables (and popularized on watches and T-shirts), Murakami has developed DOB, a character loosely based on Mickey Mouse. Originally portrayed as a benign and slightly humorous character, later versions of DOB have become darker and slightly menacing. Like the original Nihonga artists, Murakami incorporates elements of Western art (in his case animated images) that have gone through the filter of "Japanimation" and are reinterpreted by him in a new style and image.

Murakami's work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, such as "Transculture" at the 46th Venice Biennale;"Cities on the Move" at the Wiener Secession in Vienna, Austria, and P.S. 1 in New York; "Abstract Painting, Once Removed" at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, Texas. He has had solo exhibitions at the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art and the Tomio Koyama Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, and at the State University of New York at Buffalo Art Gallery. In 1998 he conducted a graduate seminar in the Studio Art Department at the University of California.

Amada Cruz is director of the Center for Curatorial Studies Museum at Bard College. Prior to her appointment, she was acting chief curator and Manilow Curator of Exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and associate curator at the Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. She has also held curatorial positions at the Lannan Museum in Lake Worth, Florida, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

For further information about the tours and exhibition "Takashi Murakami," call the Center for Curatorial Studies Museum at 914-758-7598. Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. This exhibition is made possible with the generous support of the Vicki and Kent Logan Family Foundation, Marieluise Hessel, and the Japan Foundation.

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001