Takashi Murakami on his new show with AR artwork on Broad

A man in colorful clothes standing in front of an artistic statue.

Takashi Murakami’s new exhibition at the Broad Museum includes painting, sculpture, immersive environments, and augmented reality works.

(Michelle Groscoff/For The Times)

Takashi Murakami is immersed in a snowstorm of cheerful multicolored flowers. He’s walking along an outside corridor Beneath the architectural shell of the wide museum and freakish flowers flowing in the air in its direction. They hover over his head, flashing at the artist.

wears a cotton jacket flush with its iconic flower pattern, Murakami It blends right in with colorful florals. He’s testing out his new augmented reality project, and he’s seeing the images through his phone screen. AR work – one of six works Murakami created in collaboration with Instagram, Meta’s Spark AR, and digital design studio Buck and Broad It is part of a file Extensive museum exhibition, “Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of the Rainbow” which opened Saturday. The exhibition is Murakami’s first solo show at the museum.

Just days before the exhibition opened, the Japan-based artist saw an on-site AR installation for the first time.

“My God, sugoi (Amazing),” he says, as he moves along the sidewalk with his arm outstretched and the phone raised in the air. He rotates from side to side, viewing the work from different angles. As he does, the augmented reality flowers — which appear 3D on his screen — rise and look Like a clatter, an umbrella of candy-colored friendliness.

He says, “Wow.” “Wow-wow-wow-wow.”

It’s a happy sight even, perhaps, not so. Flowers are so cheerful, they almost cause anxiety. Which is logical. Murakami’s work – Colorful poppy images inspired by Japanese manga, anime, and a host of other popular cultural influences and historical art references – infused with dark tones that contrast with a lighter work surface. Much of it talks about global catastrophes and large-scale shocks: his recurring images of mushrooms, presented in photo illustrative Mango Pattern, refers to mushroom pull, in response to The Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings of 1945 in Japan.

These days, Murakami’s work has been on the COVID-19 pandemic. This trip to Los Angeles with a layover last week in New York, This is the artist’s first time outside of Japan Since early 2020. He spent the first few years of the pandemic living and working in his studio in Japan Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo. she was A period marked by global tragedy and personal challenges. his company, kaikai kikiAnd Almost went bankrupt (didn’t), long-planned exhibition and museum fairs were postponed and for him Feature film about science fiction, Jellyfish Eyes Part 2: Mahashnek has been canceled. fashion designer friend Virgil Abloh and his father died in late 2021.

A grid of four images displays details of clothing, shoes, and 3D art.

wears a cotton jacket Murakami flirts with his iconic floral pattern and a necklace featuring one of his characters, a panda, blending right in with colorful florals.

(Michelle Groscoff/For The Times)

Murakami and making art meet, noting how people around the world are becoming increasingly dependent on digital platforms — shopping, socializing online, working on Zoom. The realization sparked a growing interest in digital art and spaces. digital environments in which visitors can live, often accessed with a VR headset or other technology (particularly for gaming and other forms of interactive entertainment), has become An outlet for people’s energy, with ritual storytelling activities that help participants understand the world and facilitate social cohesion. It was no different from modern day religion, in his opinion.

Murakami’s work also revolves around the creative transformation in the aftermath of the crisis. So it’s no surprise that at this late stage of the pandemic he is now emerging with new work, whether it’s physical drawing or getting into augmented reality and other digital worlds. In addition to the AR elements of the extensive gallery, there is also the Gagosian Gallery that debuted in New York last week that includes AR, Virtual Reality and NFT Effects.

Includes extensive exhibition All 12 Murakami holdings plus six loans – 18 works in all. On display are master paintings, sculptures, and immersive environments from various points in his career. There’s the iconic 1999 sculptural installation Visualizing Murakami’s alter ego amidst magical-looking mushrooms, “DOB in the Strange Forest (Blue DOB),” Wall collaboration with Louis Vuitton fashion house from 2003 And an entire room covered with wallpaper swallows two paintings of flowers and a flowering sculpture resembling plants, “Flower Matango (b)” (2001-2006), which had never been shown in the museum before.

Two AR activities are visible outside and one of them, on Broad Square, can be seen by passersby, without booking the museum. Two appear in the lobby and two appear in a gallery inside the ticketed gallery. Visitors scan a QR Code on the floor, which opens an Instagram filter through which they can view the work. A second scan of the same QR code plays the actual AR image at the appropriate museum location.

As a Broad employee explains this while we’re standing in the hallway, two massive gates suddenly open on a nearby wall – AR working as seen through her phone screen. The sci-fi-like demons stand all in one, shirtless and clubbing. They guard Murakami’s work inside the gallery. An AR version of Murakami and his beloved dog Boom greet visitors at the entrance to the gallery.

A man walks past a white wall with his phone in front on his face.

Murakami is testing his new augmented reality project, viewing the images through his phone screen.

(Michelle Groscoff/For The Times)

A pink painting hanging on a white wall.

The debut of Murakami’s latest work, Unfamiliar People (2022).

(Takashi Murakami)

The focal point of the exhibition is the exhibition of works depicting natural disasters in conversation with one another. In it, Murakami’s earlier work is set alongside his first painting for a new series, 2022; The wide show is its first worldwide appearance. The exhibition’s 2014 honorary painting, “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of the Rainbow” – the largest work in the Broad’s collection – is a An 82-foot-wide piece responding to a series of 2011 natural disasters in Japan, including Tohoku earthquakeAnd tsunami, And Fukushima nuclear disasterThrough the lens of Asian folklore and Taoist immortality. A clot of dark skulls and a ship wrecked by waves turn into a vortex within a disastrous water event that finally boils over into a bucolic calm.

Enlightened Buddhist Arhats, mythical figures, inhabit the nearby Murakami “100 Arhats” (2013), Meticulously detailed and colorful work that is also a response to the same 2011 disasters in Japan.

Murakami’s latest painting, Unfamiliar People, is a cornerstone of both works, a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how his perceptions of the people he thought he knew had changed during that time. Dark undersides and “intricate dogma and inner struggles” are revealed. new photography cartoon inspired characters, Like a zombie with open mouths and jagged teeth, on a bright pink background. Flowers and skulls floating in the background. Attention to the mouths in the plate immediately suggests the spread of infection and misinformation regarding the epidemic.

Follow people on social media [during the pandemic]and the people he’s known for decades, all of a sudden, will be surprised, whether they criticize the government for taxes or they Anti-vaccination Or they will refuse to wear masks,” says Ed Schad, the show’s curator. “Those moments on social media, when he was inside the computer, this series is about that. It’s about transformation.”

When asked how the pandemic has changed him personally, Murakami suggested the painting. “This is the change,” he says. “I traveled less, so I produced a lot more work.”

He notes the color palettes differ markedly between the older works in the room and the newer palette, with the former consisting of primary colors and jewel tones highlighted in black and brown, and newer work rendered in cotton candy pink, bright blue, and lemon yellow. He says it’s like the difference between jazz and electro-pop.

Murakami in front of

Murakami in front of Unfamiliar People.

(Michelle Groscoff/For The Times)

Standing in front of “unfamiliar people”, Murakami appears excited and a little nervous. He admits that the painting’s debut is significant. When asked to explain the reason, he simply nodded to the piece, then let out an audible sigh. It’s part fear, perhaps, and part satisfaction when a massive new act is finally launched into the world. He says designs for a second painting in the series are underway in his studio.

Murakami points his phone at the board as if to take a picture. Suddenly, Two holes open on the ground in front of him, as seen on his phone, and two silver avatars emerge from under the ground. They are AR versions of Murakami’s early characters, Hiropon and My Lonesome Cowboy. They’re dressed in futuristic lingerie, with My Lonesome Cowboy’s hair carved into spikes and Hiropon wearing giant buns like Princess Leia.

Murakami’s interest in metaviruses during the pandemic accelerated Watching his son and daughter, 11 and 8, respectively, Play a Nintendo video game “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” His daughter was admiring the fireworks in the game, while chatting with friends via Zoom one day. Their deep response to the beauty of the game helped crystallize how The digital world, for their generation, is a real place. He says it was a “cognitive revolution”.

“A different world has arrived. That’s when I first felt the presence of metaphysics.”

Augmented reality is a natural progression of Murakami. a lot of Currency It is about physical transformations – flowers, drawn from traditional Japanese painting, began as works on canvas and are now more prevalent than the works of Andy Warhol soup cans, universally reproduced as pillows, socks, and even pie trays. In its most recent iteration, like the AR, it’s ephemeral.

“It’s the next step,” Shad says. “It transports physical objects into the metaverse.”

Murakami hopes that interactive augmented reality works will attract new audiences, both for his work and for art history.

He says, “My work has a lot of Asian themes and may not be very familiar to Western audiences, and I think augmented reality in this room can be an attraction. [People] You may want to do more research online.”

A man standing with his leg raised on the grass.

“Trauma is very important to understanding life,” says artist Takashi Murakami.

(Michelle Groscoff/For The Times)

Mobile phone hanging to display augmented reality flowers.

Murakami is testing augmented reality components before the show opens.

(Michelle Groscoff/For The Times)

Many of the works on the show talk about themes of beauty and healing, as well as how catastrophic events often lead to creativity, connectedness, and resilience. In this sense, “stomping on the tail of the rainbow” It might be the perfect show right now – it’s about crisis and delivers an anecdote that uplifts his stress.

“Trauma is very important to understanding life,” Murakami says. “Maybe in the near future, when I make my business, it will be with the message to young people: ‘Life is hell.

He’s taking one last look at the new board, the incarnation of augmented reality slipping further and further.

“Understanding this, then people can [find] Freedom: “Oh, I’m not alone.”

In doing so, Murakami exits the museum and joins an AR version of his alter ego, Mr. DOB, who is floating on a cloud over Broad Square garden. Augmented reality flowers revolve around it, and metaverse is buzzing with activity. The joy it brings to Murakami’s face is very real.