eeling insouciant and chatty, I asked the man driving me aroundDoha in a Karwa cab i he knew about Takashi Murakami’s art. We were on the ride over to a cartoonestooned warehouse, AlRiwaq, on the Corniche hosting the Japanese art superstar’s rstexhibition in the Middle East, titled “Ego”. The driver replied inBollywood English singspeak: “Oh yes, that’s the yaar (riend)who tagged my car.”I giggled because I knew exactly what the man was gettingat. All the aquacolored Karwa cabs in the city at the momentare covered in the “advertising wrap”, a temporary whole carbody peelo sticker. This particular ullbody happy foweradvertisement eatures the Murakami show, which is on view until June 24,2012. Yes, Murakami had accomplished the taking o the whole city! Even i or alimited time. At this moment, I was traveling in a kinetic work o art, or at least amobile billboard. Takashi is inevitably smiling down on random scenes like thesesomewhere between art and commerce. This is his territory.Following major retrospectives at the Museum o Contemporary Art, Los Angelesand at the Château de Versailles, “Murakami – Ego” is the nal chapter in a trilogy o exhibitions that have established Takashi Murakami as one o the most ascinatingartists working today. This new exhibition, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, willeature more than 60 works rom 1997 to the present, on loan rom leadinginternational institutions and private collections, as well as several new workscreated especially or this show.THE ARTIST IN RETROSPECTIVEIn 2012, predictably, Japan’s Takashi Murakami will again be one o the topgrossingliving artists next to the likes o the UK’s selappointed naughty boy, Damien Hirst,and the American savant provocateur Je Koons. For insiders and enthusiasts,Murakami’s ubiquitous place on the art scoreboard is a nobrainer, as his seeminglychildlike creative output is the meticulously painted workproduct o a careully crated brand. It’s the artworldequivalent o eating a McDonald’s Big Mac in a Prada dress.Two tastes that go great together: High Art, Pop Culture.Nonetheless, Murakami’s bluechip, Japanese, otakuobsessed anboyinspired work was not the vanguardmoment in harvesting the high art, pop culture in thecontemporary art market. Unlike his proessed spiritualmentor, the American pop artist Andy Warhol, Murakamihas been unusually successul in this ability to create workor sale in every art market niche available: high, low and inbetween. Other artists ailed where Murakami succeeded.Thus spoke the art market’s Master o the Universe o allthings anime and manga:“I set out to investigate the secret o market survivability the universality o characters such as Mickey Mouse, Sonicthe Hedgehog, Doraemon, Miy, Hello Kitty, and theirknockos, produced in Hong Kong,” said Murakami on hismeritorious career trajectory (2001).In 2001, almost 15 years into his career in the internationalart market, Murakami wrote a maniesto on his artisticdestiny and drew the roadmap or his unolding art career.That exhibit, titled “Superfat”, was the summary o whatMurakami had been up to until that juncture and wouldcontinue to execute masterully into the next ew decadeso his career as an artist. The paintings and a sculpture o “Superfat” at rst glance “appeared” ridiculously simple,but his work magically transorms beore the viewer’s eyesto become a rabbit hole o what it means to produce art
Lurn Lon boyxplorstkshi murki’s
xhiiion, showcsd y h Qr musus auhoriy
A detail o a Eeball paitigshows paistakig cratsmashipb Murakami's 200+ perso crew.
PHOTOGRAPHy By ROB ALTAMIRAnO