PARIS — What does the Contemporary Art fair FIAC have in common with a Louis Vuitton boutique?

Over the weekend, there was an artistic feeding frenzy at the fair reminiscent of those that occur regularly at Vuitton’s handbag counters. Art lovers flipped for Japanese artist Takashi Murakami — who has collaborated with Vuitton on next spring’s Pop-infused accessories — and who is one of the most prominent figures in manga art, as his cartoon-like look is known.

This story first appeared in the October 28, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Yes, two of those and three of the gold one,” one woman barked at reps from Paris gallery Emmanuel Perrotin. “Oh, and one more for my friend.” Perrotin, who represents Murakami, was selling limited-edition prints. And stock ran out fast.

Murakami gained fame for his saccharine Pop paintings and futuristic sculptures, and headlined what became full-on manga mania at the show. Other artists who work in the style include Yoshitaka Amano, whose gallery, Leo Koenig, showed drawings and paintings portraying the famous manga character Actarius from Goldorak.

But surreal animal themes also ran wild at the fair. Paris gallery Jerome de Noirmont staged a group exhibition called “Zoo,” showing work by such artists as Keith Haring and Jeff Koons, while Thomas Grunfeld’s bizarre half-creature sculptures — a half parrot/half fox and a half deer/half giraffe — were presented at the Gousse Enterprise booth.

The most provocative motif melding of all, however, was done by Chinese artist Wang Guang Yi. His lithographs mix images of Communist party propaganda with the famous logos of fashion brands like Chanel. Now that’s fashion with passion.

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