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Our favorite bowtie-glad pop artist is expanding into yet another field. Not satisfied with fantastic gallery work and the occasional high-fashion collab, Takashi Murakami is getting his Pixar on. Or should we say, his Miyazaki.

His latest project is an animation and film studio dedicated to the characters he’s produced. The trailer for the first major animated film kaikai & kiki debuted at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary art this year, and he’s already gone as far as setting up office space. Apparently he has a bit more faith in the economy than Mr. Hirst.

See the trailer and a few of Murakami’s economic musings»

And if you were about to question his populist cred, here’s a class-heavy quote from one of his recent speeches on “The Superflat Market”:


“Now, we’re seeing cracks develop in the global economic structure. A structure built by rich people for the benefit of rich people.

For many years, art has been thought of mainly as a luxury for these same privileged few. Those who seek to understand the history of museums would do best to look at the Louvre Museum as a guide. In other words, during the French Revolution, the conventional hierarchy of rich and privileged people on the top and less privileged people on the bottom was overturned, and forms of entertainment once thought of only as a luxury for royal consumption became open for all people to enjoy.

I, too, as a Japanese, began my work as an artist with the belief that making works accessible to the general public was an idea at the very core of art itself. But the fact is that my work as well has largely served as a luxury for those who find themselves ahead in our capitalist system, for the rich.

In Japan, it is very difficult for artists to grow and thrive. The reason lies in the country’s post-war tax system. Before WW II, a great number of our wealthy could be relied on as collectors of Japanese art but after the war, the powerful conglomerates were broken up and it became nearly impossible to retain expensive works for more than a generation. Foundations, as well, began to lose their merit and it became harder and harder for them to function. It was under these circumstances that Manga, Anime, Games and the entire Otaku world that surrounds them came to be.

Not a luxury made for the consumption of those who can afford it, but something made for everyone. That’s otaku culture. The Superflat concept that I refer to is simply the setting aside of economic considerations in order to preserve the context provided by that culture.

But now, even Superflat has gradually become a luxury. However, I would remind you of the example that the Louvre provides. Art may travel a long road but it always returns eventually to the hands of the people.

Now I would like to explain a little bit more about Otaku-culture, in the hopes that it will help you understand what the Superflat concept is all about.”

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom