This massive painting by Japan’s most successful and well-known contemporary artist Takashi Murakami is displayed in the primest spot of the Broad Museum in Los Angeles. It’s huge. It’s epic. It’s unmissable. Anyone entering the museum’s main galleries, where the core selections from the permanent collection are exhibited, will see it as they arrive from the lobby, whether they come via escalator, elevator or a stairway.
Artist Takashi Murakami is arguably the biggest Japanese contemporary artist in the world. In less than two decades he’s established a massive footprint in the global art scene. His latest show of new work at the Gagosian Gallery in New York is titled “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow” and it marks a slight axis shift in the artist’s work.
Compared to much of the work he created in the late 1990s and early 2000s, “In the Land …” has less of the pristine, clinical and fantastical perfectionism of the sci-fi anime-inspired sculptures and kawaii characters of the artist’s “super flat”period. I
nstead Murakami’s new work is more complex and draws on more obvious, formal strands of Japanese classical arts and traditional symbolism. And it’s messy within bounds. It feels like barely contained seething chaos. It’s way more massive, more epic in scale. It’s stunning.