Having just opened Virgil Abloh’s “Pay Per View” exhibition at the Kaikai Kiki gallery in Tokyo, Takashi Murakami is gearing up for a major solo show of his own work at Perrotin’s Lower East Side gallery.
“Takashi Murakami” will debut April 28 at the Orchard Street space and will run through June 17. The artist, who has worked with Emmanuel Perrotin for more than 20 years, will have recent works displayed over several floors including the Baka paintings, “Homage to Francis Bacon” and the “Transcendent Attacking a Whirlwind Fresco.” Those who missed out on Murakami’s extensive show at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston will be able to see select work from that exhibition as well.
The exhibition will include a new series of paintings inspired by Francis Bacon. Some of the artist’s recurring icons — eyes, mushrooms and characters will be accentuated by multiple layers of color on platinum leaf. The metamorphoses of faces are meant to be reminiscent of “the transformations of Mr. DOB, the whimsical character — sometimes cute, sometimes monstrous and fierce — that Murakami subjects to multiple variations in his artworks. Started in 2002 and continued in 2016, this series allows the artist to pursue his homage to artists — both occidental and oriental — who have influenced his work.
Meanwhile, Murakami also teamed with Abloh, the creative force behind Off-White, for last month’s opening of co-created artwork at the Gagosian Gallery in London. In press material for Abloh’s new solo show in Tokyo, Murakami described how at midnight on the eve of Off-White’s runway show in Paris earlier this month, Abloh responded so quickly to his technical questions about the installation of a sculptural work and specs for limited edition T-shirts. Murakami also noted how Off White’s new Air Jordan launch was also scheduled for the following day. With “Pay Per View,” Abloh highlights how advertising “formulates and shapes” our consciousness. (He would know, having collaborated with behemoth brands such as Nike, Ikea and Converse.)
Excited and energized by Abloh, Murakami offered his own ringing endorsement. “Even as the boundaries between art, fashion, Instagram, race, market, time zones, values and originality become blurry and vague, the creator himself is brought into ever-sharper relief. Virgil Abloh is sitting there with a smile on his face. Or rather, even when Virgil the person is not there, you feel him when you encounter the projects he has handled. I don’t think it’s too much, then, to expect him to make something happen as he gets involved in the game of art.” Murakami wrote. “It’s hard to grasp at a first glance. But Virgil’s work has gradually been changing rules of various games; I can’t suppress my excitement that the moment of change in the art world is about to begin with his involvement.”