Bard News & Events

Press Release


Mark Primoff
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is the subject of a survey exhibition that will open at Bard College's Center for Curatorial Studies Museum this June. Curated by museum director Amada Cruz and Dana Friis-Hansen, senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, this exhibition is the first comprehensive museum show of Murakami's work and includes rarely seen early work and his most recent large-scale sculptures and paintings. The exhibition opens Sunday, June 27, with a reception from 1 to 4 p.m., and will remain on view through Sunday, September 12. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., without charge.

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, 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.

About the Curators 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.

Dana Friis-Hansen is the senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, Texas. Prior to his appointment, he was associate curator for Nanjo and Associates, contemporary art consultants in Tokyo, and a curator at the List Visual Arts Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has written extensively about contemporary Japanese art.

For further information about the exhibition "Takashi Murakami," call the Center for Curatorial Studies Museum at 914-758-7598. This exhibition is supported by the Japan Foundation.

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001