Those who can remember watching Sailor Moon and obsessing over Pokemon cards will be easily immersed in the world of Takashi Murakami. In the new exhibit, Murakami, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the viewer is transported to a world of doe eyed beauties, floating rosy-cheeked creatures, and 1970’s hippie-esque daisies.
With his anime and hentai inspired art, Murakami blurs the lines of reality and fantasy, and transports the viewer to a land of exaggerated smiles, shapes, sizes, and colors. The exhibit is generally child friendly, however the first pieces greeting visitors may shock those who are easily embarrassed by sex and nudity.
The piece “Hiropon” is a life-sized girl with the typical wide eyes of an anime schoolgirl. She looks adorable in her pigtails tied with yellow ribbons, except for the minor detail that she’s in a tiny bikini and using milk that is squirting from her enlarged breasts as a jump rope.
Another life size piece, “My Lonesome Cowboy,” is an adorable boy with electrifying yellow hair. He entrances and captures with his huge green eyes, while he holds onto a white lasso made from semen ejaculating from his penis.
“Flower Matango” is a large orb shaped sculpture covered completely by the giant faces of smiling daisies. The complex thing about this piece is not its shape, but its color combinations. No two daisies are the same color combination.
What is most interesting about the “Flower Matango” is the room in which it is kept. While other art pieces are held in rooms with mostly barren white walls, this piece is placed in a room with color radiating from all around. The walls have been covered in a vivid wallpaper, creating a color explosion as millions of colorful little daisies smile down on those walking by.
In a small room off to one side of the exhibit is the screening of “Kaikai and Kiki,” a short Japanese film with English subtitles. The two main characters, Kaikai and Kiki, resemble little children dressed up in rabbit suits. Kaikai, the kind and cuter of the two, is dressed in white and brings logic to the duo. Kiki, dressed in pink, with a third eye in a constant state of hypnosis, acts before she thinks.
Kaikai and Kiki embark on a quest to grow their own watermelons as they fly around in their aircraft, which is actually an adorable giant puffball named Momumon, learning along the way where fertilizer comes from.
As Kaikai and Kiki struggle to perfect the art of growing watermelons, simply watering the seeds and covering them in manure doesn’t work. Kiki, who has just been told manure originates from cows, decides to use her own manure. In the end, this does the trick, and everyone enjoys juicy humongous watermelons.
Murakami is a Japanese-born artist who has been making art since the early 1990s. The exhibit is a combination of his early work and new work, and his recent collaboration with Louis Vuitton. Murakami’s designs can be seen on a variety of Louis Vuitton handbags.
Murakami has also worked with Kanye West in producing the music video for West’s song, “Good Morning” off of his album “Graduation.”
Also up for viewing is the original pen-drawn sketch of one of Murakami’s largest canvases. Visitors can see the time and effort that goes into creating the colorful masterpieces up for display. With every color carefully chosen and special detail paid to every part of the paper, it is no wonder that Murakami’s art envelops the viewer in a warmth reminiscent of favorite childhood cartoons.
Murakami will be featured at The Geffen Contemporary at the MOCA in Los Angeles until February 11, 2008. The exhibit’s regular hours are: Monday 11am-5pm, Thursday 11am-8pm (free after 5pm), Friday 11am-5pm, and Saturdays and Sundays, 11am-6pm. The Geffen Contemporary is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.