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Art in New York
Takashi Murakami
Posted on February 26, 2016
CNN Interview :

Murakami as curator- JPn Society 2005 show:


Kanye West Good Morning:

Dropout Bear arriving at the graduation ceremony.

The music video for “Good Morning” is essentially the result of Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami bringing to life the various designs he had composed for Graduation’s album artwork through the use of cel-shaded animation. Its story takes place within a futuristic metropolis called Universe City, whose inhabitants are anthropomorphic creatures. The protagonist of the video is “Dropout Bear”, West’s longtime mascot, who – as with previous albums – appears on the cover of Graduation. The story chronicles Dropout Bear overcoming various obstacles in an effort to reach his college campus in time for his graduation ceremony.

An edited version of the animated video was used as pre-release promotion for the album.[2] In April 2008, the video was shown in its full length during a tour of Murakami’s work at the Brooklyn Museum.[3] The video was also featured in an exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.[citation needed] The video was made available to the public upon its release in the iTunes Store on August 26, 2008.[4]

http://www.nytimes.comScreen Shot 2016-02-25 at 10.17.14 PM.png/2014/12/07/magazine/takashi-murakami-on-making-art-after-the-tsunami.html?ref=topics


Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 10.17.14 PM.png

Takashi Murakami on Making Art After the Tsunami
DEC. 5, 2014

PhotoTakashi MurakamiCreditAndroniki Christodoulou/Getty Images, for The New York Times



The artist talks with Jay Caspian Kang about the necessity of religion and how it has influenced his work since the disaster in 2011.

Your new show in New York, “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow,” is a departure from the more pop-culture-inspired work that defined a lot of your career. Why is that? As a young artist in New York, I thought about postwar Japan — the consumer culture, and the loose, deboned feeling prevalent in the character and animation culture. Mixing all those up in order to portray Japanese culture and society was my work. This time I wanted to examine where religion and art arise when people are faced with natural disaster.

I noticed a lot of religious imagery in the show. Were you raised in a religious household? When I was little, my parents belonged to a cult, a big Buddhist sect called Soka Gakkai. I didn’t have any particular sentiment for or against religion, but I did feel bad about my parents’ poverty and how it made them depend on that cult. I thought that poverty and religion sat right next to each other and I opposed the sort of cult that preyed on poverty and poor people.

What changed? After the tsunami in 2011, I saw orphaned children being interviewed on television. Aid workers would tell them, “Your parents went to the other side, but they are always here watching out for you, looking down at you.” You know they are trying to comfort the kids, but if you think about it, it’s a lie — the parents aren’t looking down at them at all. Yet that type of story is also a necessity for these children. I felt these sorts of exchanges might say something about the start of religion, the beginning of faith. I felt the necessity of religion.

In the past, you have talked about commercial success as your only goal. So it was the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that changed your perspective? It definitely shifted, on a fundamental level, my position as an artist. I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing. Maybe I could have made much more powerful artwork if I had just kept doing the same thing. But the change has already happened.

Earlier in your career you talked about the need to reject Western influence in your work. Why do you collaborate with Western brands like Louis Vuitton, or musicians like Kanye West? The offers to collaborate have always come from the other side. In the past, I wondered why they want to collaborate with me, but now I understand. What the West is looking for in Japan is something more than the very artificial, Hollywood, over-the-top Japan. I offer the middle ground, something that is just the right temperature for Western audiences.

How did you end up working with Kanye? Kanye’s record label contacted me and said that he really liked a sculpture of mine — a woman with huge breasts. They asked if he could come to see it. It just so happened that the sculpture had just returned to the studio for repair. I said sure. Kanye came to the studio and stared at the sculpture, completely without words, just silently looking at it. I think he was moved by it, because he took hundreds of pictures with his digital camera.

Your Louis Vuitton handbags are very popular among counterfeiters. What do you think about the illegal appropriation of your work? The absolute highlight of my career is this one cover of Artforum. It’s a photograph of an African man at the Venice Biennale sewing a fake Louis Vuitton bag with my monogram on it. That photograph captured everything: the fake and the real, Japanese culture, consumer society, capitalism, copy and original — everything in one image.



The paintings, sculptures, and balloons of Takashi Murakami are colorful and attractive, and accessible in their reference to lovable cartoon characters. Murakami uses his deep understanding of Western art to integrate his work into its structure; working from the inside to portray “Japanese-ness” as a tool to bring about revolution in the world of art.
Superflat: Flattenning distinctions.As an artist, Murakami questions the lines drawn between East and West, past and present, high art and popular culture. Not stopping with the production of artworks, Murakami shocked the world with his entrepreneurial collaboration with Louis Vuitton, when he challenged the divide between art and commerce.
As a curator, Murakami challenges our notions of history and culture. With his three-part Superflat exhibition which toured in major museums in America and Europe, he attempted to introduce Japanese artists, animators, cartoonists, etc. to an international audience, under the premise that such categories of creativity are not as rigid in the Japanese system, and might all be thought of as “art.” His final installation Little Boy suggested a new interpretation of history through a political exposition of the A-bomb and post-war Japanese popular culture.
While proposing a rethinking of “Japan” to those both within and outside, Murakami maintains a strong commitment to promoting Japanese art throughout the world. Twice a year he holds the GEISAI festival in Japan for young emerging talent, and with his company Kaikai Kiki, supports and manages a group of young artists while preparing for his future endeavors.
“To become a living example of the potential of art.” This is the burning force behind Takashi Murakami’s work.


1:28 Vuitton 2:50 Collector14:08 ; 16:30superflat; 18:00
15:24 toys from sculptures
Superflat is a postmodern art movement founded by the artist Takashi Murakami, which is influenced by manga and anime. It is also the name of a 2001 art exhibition, curated by Murakami, that toured West Hollywood, Minneapolis and Seattle.

In this short piece, Murakami explains about the SUPERFLAT concept and what he means by that. It has a lot to do with how he sees Japanese society today and how it has evolved since the end of the Pacific war in 1945 with the devastating attacks by the US using atomic weapons.

A central influence on the concept of ‘Superflat’ is the Japanese cartoon culture of manga where enthusiasts are lured into a magical world that is divorced from reality.
The insistent two-dimensionality of manga often results in an overall patterning of colors and shapes which provides a parallel space in which to escape from the pressures and expectations of society at large. All of the artists in ‘Superflat’ work between the established boundaries of their respective genres, for instance where fine art photography meets commercial photography, where painting meets illustration, or where fashion meets theatrical costuming.the ‘supe’” in ‘Superflat’ not only emphasizes the planar qualities of much of the work, but also denotes a special, charged characteristic or attitude. With ‘Superflat’ Murakami suggests a broader definition of contemporary art in japan and the wide range of activity within the exhibition can be seen as a direct challenge to the traditional borders and hierarchies between cultural genres.


Takashi Murakami was born in Tokyo in 1962. In 1986 he graduated from the Department of Japanese Traditional Painting (nihon-ga) at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, from which he later also earned his MA and PHD. Mr. Murakami made his debut as a modern artist with the 1991 solo exhibition Takashi, Tamiya, and has since been exhibited in many prestigious museums incliding the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and numerous other venues around the world. In 1994 he participated in the P.S.1 International Studio Program on a fellowship grant from the Rockefeller Foundation Asian Cultural Council. The same year, he also founded his Brooklyn-based studio. He returned to Japan in 1995 and founded the Hiropon Factory (also known as Kaikai Kiki) on the outskirts of Tokyo. Both studios serve as production spaces for Murakami’s art and provide space for the young artists Mr. Murakami seeks to cultivate.

further info:

It’s suprising that Murakami is often characterized as one of the most commercial artists in history, while he takes a critical look at the childish society of consumerist entertainment. If Andy Warhol used Campbell soup cans in his artistic work, Murakami is not only inspired by popular objects but he also manufactures them and sells them. In the same way that a traditional painter fills a canvas with colors, Murakami seems to fill the world with his objects. Prints, sculptures, animated videos, curated exhibitions, limited edition dolls, t-shirts, chocolates, gum, keychains, wallpaper, mobile phones, Monopoly games…or a limited edition Louis Vuitton purse. All from his own factory, Kaikai Kiki, that has 50 employees in its New York office, as well as representing five young artists.

The Superflat trend includes names like Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara (Hiroshaki, 1959) Aya Takano (Saitama, 1976), Chiho Aoshima (Tokio, 1974), Erina Matsui (Okayama, 1984), Tomoko Sawada (Kobe, 1977) y Kohei Nawa (Osaka, 1975). Nara hasn’t developed a merchandising machine as advanced as Murakami’s, his work is less flat and less industrial, and he defines himself as punk.

The new generation of artists, connected to Superflat, born in the 1970s has a greater freedom, present in the techniques they use. Murakami & Nara continue to be the spiritual fathers of the movement that represents a Japan still searching for its identity and immersed in a pop culture connected to the world of childhood.

1) Murakami videos from Gagosian website (above) role of dealer, gallerist, gallery owner as a representative of artists- show the work, promote it, participate in art fairs, keep abreast of auctions
Talked about Murakami genuinely wanting to “heal people”, Superflat encompasses everything- video Kanye West’s Good Morning ,painting sculpture, advertising, commercial (Vuitton)- imagery of weird stuff response to atom bomb. Kai Kai KiKi= reversed


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The Art World
Posted on February 26, 2016
The following is paraphrased from “Seven Days in the Art World” by Sarah Thornton

The art world is the “world” composed of all the people involved in the production,

commission, preservation, promotion, criticism, and sale of art.Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 10.00.28 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-02-25 at 10.00.51 PM.png


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Posted on February 26, 2016
Kara Walker, A Subtlety



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Art in New York Course Description
Posted on February 12, 2016
Art In New York: A Multicultural Perspective/

Art 226 001 (23419) SPRING 2016

Instructor: Eugenio Espinosa, office hrs: 10:30-12:30 tues/thurs; 9-10amFri, office 7201A

Phone: 845-574-4567; email : (Please identify yourself in the subject line as an Art In New York student)

Friday 2 to 4:40. Class meets in Academic II, 2306

Topics to be Covered:

Roles visual artists play in contemporary society

Ideas and issues of interest to contemporary artists

How to derive meaning from a work of art, with and without access to information other than what is available through observation

Validation systems in contemporary art- who determines what is good art- the art market, critics, curators and exhibition opportunities affect the lives of artists today

Required reading- see online syllabus for periodical readings at :

and, a required text : Seven Days in The Art World, Sarah Thorton, W.W. Norton and Co., 2009 ISBN 978-0-393-06722-4

Student requirements for completion of course:

1)Two gallery reports based on visits to galleries in New York City, conforming to format in separate handout.

2)Keeping a Required Notebook for this course: Take thorough notes from all readings, during classes and guest artists’ presentations. Your notes will be the main source of information for the two open-notebook quizzes.

Taking Notes at artists’ talks

Requirement: A notebook

For this class visiting artists generally present a selection of images of their work and talk about the development of their work and what interests them in making art. You will need to take notes as what they talk about will be the subject of the open-notebook quizzes, during which you can refer to your notes .

Look for answers to questions such as the following during the lectures and ask them if they are not addressed and seem appropriate.

About the work:

What is the main focus in the work – what thread runs through all the work from year to year?

Materials and Techniques:

Size and scale of art:

Type of work: media used :

About the artist:

Biography as it affects the art:

Education . training :

Career – Awards, residencies, collections the work is included in:

Relationship to gallery system:

Public works, commissions:

Relationship to art market:

How they make a living:

Strategy for staying fresh with their creativity:

3)Participation in class discussions- asking questions from the visiting artists

Please note: Class participation also consists of refraining from activities that will disrupt the attention of the class, such as: texting, talking, having cell phones ringing, arriving late, leaving early.

4) Doing assigned readings and taking notes from books, newspapers, the internet, handouts, art publications in the library, and art reviews

Attendance is a requirement. Students are expected to attend all classes. Unexcused absences will not be allowed. Late arrivals and early departures count as partial absences and will affect grades. Only three absences, regardless of the reason, will be permitted.. Absences four and five will incur a three point final grade penalty for each absence. Absences six and greater will result in 5 points being deducted from your final grade for each absence.

– It is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor or a classmate to get any assignment missed.

– Section 224-a, Paragraph 6a of the New York State Education Law regarding absences from class due to religious observance states that “…each student who is absent from school, because of his/her religious beliefs, must be given an equivalent opportunity to make up any examination, study or work requirements which he or she may have missed because of such an absence in any particular day or days. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such equivalent opportunity.”

– Inclement weather: You may call (845) 574-4034 for closing or delay information.

Disability Services

– SUNY RCC is committed to providing qualified individuals with disabilities full access to all programs, services and facilities as mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities ACT (ADA) of 1990. The college makes reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Students should notify the Office of Disability Services located at the Tech Center, Room 8150 and their representatives of any special needs.

Grading is based on:

2 gallery reports=42.5%

2 quizzes=42.5%

Attendance and Informed participation in class =15%

Grade Scale (sample)

A 93-100

A- 89-93

B+ 85-89

B 83-85

B- 79-83

C+ 75-79

C 73-7

C- 69-73

D 65-69

F < 65


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Art in New York Gallery Paper(s)
Posted on February 12, 2016
Art In New York: A Multicultural Perspective

Art 226 001 Spring 2016

Instructor: Eugenio Espinosa

Phone: 845-574-4567; email :

Friday 2 to 4:40 AC II 2306

Two gallery or museum reports
Due dates:
March 18* and April 15*
*If you hand in the paper a week earlier I will be glad to give you comments for rewriting

How to do the paper(s):

First, choose an exhibition of contemporary (art made recently,or not more than 30 years old or so*), see art in New York City (including all boroughs).


This could be a one-person show or a group exhibition, or a performance art piece (check with me on your choice). For Group Exhibitions: If it’s a large group show, pick three artists to look up.

Find out who the curator(s) are, how long did it take to organize, hang, etc., what the focus of putting together this particular exhibition was on, and how well the exhibition succeeds (or not) and why.

You can choose a show from listings of current exhibitions in many publications, including:

Art in America:

The New York Times , Friday or Sunday editions in particular

New York Magazine:


Time Out NY:

Alternatives to New York City:

Dia Beacon: several exhibitions see :

Special Event Saturday March 12, 2016, 11:30 am–4 pm : Robert Ryman Symposium at Dia Beacon Dia Beacon

Then, go to the show with something to take notes in and a camera.
Take notes that will help you to eventually compose a typed, two to three-page review of the exhibition. Please include visual documentation (photos /announcement cards) with your typed paper.

In your review include all of the following:


* Location (name and type of exhibition venue, and address), date of duration of the particular exhibition, date of your visit, title of the exhibition.

* Description in detail of at least three individual pieces of the art ,i.e., title, medium, date, size, category that the work might be placed in, (such as painting, sculpture, installation art, conceptual art, performance art, etc).

* Describe the materials, process and styles utilized in making each work and say why you think the artist has made these particular choices. (for example, “Joseph Beuys used lard and felt in this work to make a reference to his story of having been saved by the Tartars during World War II , when his airplane was shot down in the snow and the people who found him warmed him with felt and lard”)

PART 2- ANALYSIS: Speculate on the content of the work. What does the artist intend to convey? Explain why you think the artist has succeeded or not. Although you are judging the art, please base any comments on what you actually see, not on prejudice (for example, “I hate abstract art”) It’s fine not to like what you are reviewing if you can be very specific on why the work doesn’t succeed.

This is a key part of your report, where you think about the meaning of the work.

Use references to research the artist(s). Look up a review of this artist’s work and read what an art critic thought about it and the manner they wrote it in.(Include any details of the artists’ careers, biographies, heritage, etc. that seem to help in understanding the work . If applicable, say how this exhibition ties in to ideas or concerns addressed by the artists who have spoken in class, or to issues we have discussed in class. You can also link up traditions in art history that can help put this work in context.

Since you are reviewing contemporary art and you are living in the time that it is being made, write about how this art reflects today’s zetigeist.

Other things to keep in mind:

Take announcement cards for the show, take notes and pictures, (if allowed) when you are at the exhibition. Think of the exhibition itself as if it were a work of art in its own right. How do the choices made by the curator (s) (for example,how are works arranged in the space? How does the placement of one piece relative to others, relative to the architecture of the space affect your experience of the work in general?



Gallery or museum staff. Don’t be shy, ask questions, particularly in galleries

Catalogs- Sometimes published in conjunction with the exhibition. They tend to be expensive but you can take notes at the exhibition itself. Often you can look at catalogs of previous exhibitions related to the one you’re reviewing.

Web site for gallery or museum , or, for the artist

Articles in art magazines, reviews of previous shows

Your Art in NewYork instructor


You must indicate the following about any references:

Name of author, article title, publication name, date of publication or volume #,page range. ( number references within the text and then write the corresponding information at the end)

Any quotations must be in quotation marks and sources (including websites on the Internet) must be listed.

Paraphrasing should also be indicated, usually within the text.

Example of quote in text:

“At the end of the decade it was once again necessary to realize that the production of art is inseparable from considerations of where one belongs…..” (1)

1) Tom Hollert,Blood of the Poets, Artforum International, March 2003, p, 281


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Art in New York Syllabus
Posted on February 12, 2016
Art In New York: A Multicultural Perspective

Art 226 001(23419) SPRING 2016

Instructor: Eugenio Espinosa Office 7201A,Office hrs. Tues/Thurs 10:30 am-12:30pm;Fri 9-10 am

Phone: 845-574-4567; email : identify yourself in the subject line as an Art In New York student)

Class meets Friday 2 to 4:40. in Academic II, room 2306

Required reading- see online syllabus for periodical readings at :

and, a required text : Seven Days in The Art World, Sarah Thorton, W.W. Norton and Co., 2009 ISBN 978-0-393-06722-4

Class 1 Jan 29

Class 2 Feb 5- Roger Sayre-

Class 3 Feb 12- Read introduction to Seven Days in The Art World, pp xi-xx and the Chapter titled The Studio Visit

Class 4 Feb 19- Margaret Murphy- read David Byrne’s “I Don’t Care About Contemporary Art Anymore?”

Class 5 Feb 26 – read Jerry Salz’s article:

Watch Kara Walker,A Subtlety:

Class 6 March 4-Josh Jordan

Class 7 March 11

Class 8 March 18 Pat Dahlman –First gallery paper due


Class 9 April 1- Branden Koch

Class 10 April 8-  Quiz 1

Class 11 April 15 Maria Mijares –Second Gallery Paper Due


Class 12 April 29

Class 13 May 6- Marina Gutierrez

Class 14 May 13-Quiz 2


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Tim Hawkinson
Posted on February 11, 2016
Tim Hawkinson

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