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Monday 06.06.05

« "Paint" at Elizabeth Leach | Main | Jacqueline Ehlis at Savage »

Superflat Earth Society


PORT digs Interview magazine's June issue devoted to all things Japanese, including art. Nice to read about Murakami and Yoko Ono seeing, "another world," in a philosophical sense. As expected, nothing too deep or intellectually charged in here but those two really matter and it is probably because they have romantic notions of change.(Portland is very into Superflat and much more recent Tokyo stuff and less so into Fluxus... but it is here too). Add in Yayoi Kusama and Tadao Ando for this issue and you got something. At least it is an American magazine focused on another country.

Yet it is difficult to fathom Yoshitomo Nara being one of, "The Artists To Watch." ….ummm maybe in 1995. One's got to wonder what audience living under a rock (or Okalahoma cornfield) has yet to gain at least casual awareness of Nara? In a true Superflat leveling of commerce and high art Nara has licensed T-shirts, diaries and bookends as well as art. He is pretty much the Peter Frank of the art world. If you are in any kind of large city he is widely available.

Maybe it's targeted at the hapless babies of Gen X'rs… We liked Nara in grad school, now my classmates are putting little Timmy in Nara wear? It's a better move than Louis Vuitton but is it the darn museum gift shop creeping into life? It will be interesting to see which one, Murakami (gone fashion) or Nara (gone Timmy's room décor) will be best remembered by history. It's the age old battle "models vs. babies"…two sides of the same coin.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 06, 2005 at 17:44 | Comments (1)


Unfortunately, this type of mis-labeling doesn't only happen when general culture magazines attempt to cover international art. Last April, the Augen Gallery made the unfortunate error of putting Murakami in a show of what they identified as "emerging international artists." Perhaps they consider everyone who has come to prominence in the past 10 years to be "emerging." Or maybe otaku is just too young and baffling a culture to understand. I don't need to point out how wrong this is nor how inexcusable this is coming from any gallery in Portland.

Oh, and by the way, in the Nara v. Murakami battle of history, my bet's on Murakami - fashion aside, his reach is greater by nurturing an entire generation of artists through KaiKai Kiki and he has actively positioned himself within art history by his curatorial endeavors.

Posted by: keuro [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 8, 2005 08:29 AM

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