Friday, April 25, 2008

Bestest thing I read today

Tucked away in the Books & Art section of this week's Economist is a review of an exhibition in New York of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. A review of some obscure exhibition is hardly the place to look for great reading, but this indeed is one of the boldest reviews I have seen in a while and is chock-a-block with sociological insights. If you have even half-an-unconscious-eye for popular Japanese culture, you will appreciate it even more.

Murakami, reacting to criticism of the unabashed marketing of his works, is quoted as saying:
"Discriminating between fine art and popular merchandise, or individual genius and learned craft, is a Western preoccupation..."
and qualifies his copatriots art sensibilities thus:
..the Japanese fixation with violent comic books, titillating plastic figurines and super-cute creatures, such as Hello Kitty, is a product of the country's sense of impotence following the second world war.
Read the whole review here.

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