村上作品の価値？不幸な村上隆、、、 The Value of Murakami’s Works? An Unhappy MURAKAMI Takashi...
Today’s front page of the New York Times, New York edition: “David Hockney Painting Sells for $90 Million, Smashing Record for Living Artist”.
Sensational auction hammer prices, like hours ago, become quickly top news not only in the art world.
For Japanese art interested readers, yesterday’s “Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale” at Christie’s New York also manifested MURAKAMI Takashi’s position, together with KUSAMA Yayoi, as one of the most expensive ‘living artists’ from Japan. Executed in 2001, “Tan Tan Bo” realized a whopping US$ 5.037.000 (= 約5億7千円) .
Bidding on MURAKAMI Takashi starts @ 1:16:16
Live Stream | Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, New York | 15 November 2018
Besides celebrity MAEZAWA Yusaku, I don’t know any other collector or museum in Japan, that would pay such a sum for MURAKAMI, who can, art historically seen, still be called a relatively young artist at the age of 56.
“Tan Tan Bo” symbolizes for us Japanese art lovers the highly significant turning point in Japanese contemporary art, as in 2001 we all marveled at MURAKAMI’s solo show in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT). We are still applauding the risk taking attitude of the MOT curators in those times.
MURAKAMI himself, rightfully recapitulated, via instagram, the precarious time during the process making of “Tan Tan Bo” in the context of his MOT exhibition.
“I produced this painting in 2001, so 17 years ago now—I could not have predicted then that this work would now be sitting calmly on the main stage of art auction, at Christie’s NY. Such was the reality for an artist working in the contemporary art genre in Japan at the time.
What motivated me into making this painting was that my first large-scale solo exhibition, Summon Monsters? Ope the Door? Heal? Or Die?, was going to be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT) and I had to make a number of large works to fill its vast space. I didn’t yet have the leverage of loaning existing works from those who had purchased them, so I had to fill the huge space in its entirety with new works alone. I believe this was around the time when I started to incorporate the workshop system into my practice in earnest.
Looking back, however, the “workshop system” at the time was a total mess, and I worked 24/7 with 20 or so young people producing my works. This painting is something akin to a self-portrait in which such a state of madness is engraved.
Hélène Kelmachter, the then-Chief Curator of Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, saw the exhibition, and as a result it became a stepping stone for my solo exhibition, Kawaii! Vacances d’éte, at the said museum the following year. Given that Marc Jacobs saw the exhibition at the Cartier Foundation in turn, which led to my collaboration with Louis Vuitton, the MOT show marked the start of my career that has led me to where I am now, and this painting was its main feature.
It’s now a total mystery to me as to through what kind of thinking process this imagery had emerged.”
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I produced this painting in 2001, so 17 years ago now—I could not have predicted then that this work would now be sitting calmly on the main stage of art auction, at Christie’s NY. Such was the reality for an artist working in the contemporary art genre in Japan at the time. What motivated me into making this painting was that my first large-scale solo exhibition, Summon Monsters? Ope the Door? Heal? Or Die?, was going to be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT) and I had to make a number of large works to fill its vast space. I didn’t yet have the leverage of loaning existing works from those who had purchased them, so I had to fill the huge space in its entirety with new works alone. I believe this was around the time when I started to incorporate the workshop system into my practice in earnest. Looking back, however, the “workshop system” at the time was a total mess, and I worked 24/7 with 20 or so young people producing my works. This painting is something akin to a self-portrait in which such a state of madness is engraved. Hélène Kelmachter, the then-Chief Curator of Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, saw the exhibition, and as a result it became a stepping stone for my solo exhibition, Kawaii! Vacances d’éte, at the said museum the following year. Given that Marc Jacobs @themarcjacobs saw the exhibition at the Cartier Foundation in turn, which led to my collaboration with Louis Vuitton, the MOT show marked the start of my career that has led me to where I am now, and this painting was its main feature. It’s now a total mystery to me as to through what kind of thinking process this imagery had emerged. @loicgouzer @rottweilernyc @kojiinoue1 @ajkiyoi @mosomota @tabi_the_fat
A post shared by Takashi Murakami (@takashipom) on
Personally, I do appreciate Murakami’s publicly articulated reflections (sometimes with a healthy self critic), even if it transgresses in an arrogant tone. On the other hand, showing a kind of vulnerability (because of the offending contents) means, to open the door for a personal cleansing ritual, that can help to change the vector in one’s own artistic career.
Somehow I do still sense that his main focus of concern remains in pointing out to the sleepy and out-dated, structurally rotten situation of the Japanese art world and its operators in the museums and galleries. However, from the European view point, I don’t accept Murakami’s American way of doing art business, which functions, abstractly speaking, through museum trustees (who like to speculate on art works) and on the concept of “boom & bust”.
Today’s front page of the New York Times featuring auction results is unimaginable in Japan. Neither did I experience such a case in German newspapers. I don’t want to judge, if the New York Times handles this kind of spectacle rightly, however I do envy the readers for the almost daily coverage of contemporary art related events. On the same level, do ‘The Guardian’, ‘Le Monde’, ‘The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’ or the ‘Neue Zürcher Zeitung’ show their passion for contemporary art.
In this regard, I may hereby emphasize that the most important, serious Asahi (Shimbun) Newspaper introduces only every second Tuesday (!) contemporary art on only one page (!) (with 1/3 for advertisement) . By having been transferred into the less subscribed, minor evening edition, in comparison to the morning edition, this catastrophic, shameful situation got the contemporary art section in the Asahi Shimbun in a forgettable, to be ignored, position.
A deadly situation for Japanese contemporary artists, indeed.
(For non-Japan insiders: Besides Asahi Shimbun, following newspapers exist, too: Yomiuri Newspaper, Mainichi Newspaper, Sankei Newspaper, Tokyo Newspaper, Nikkei Newspaper. From the Japanese/global point of view, regarding art coverage, the monopoly of the highly influential New York Times can be regarded as a strange case in the newspaper industry.)
On the other hand, I take note, that “bribed” art journalism is all the common in the U.S. media. Documented recently again in the Wall Street Newspaper (New York), which published the art work prices of Mark Grotjahn, even the pre-sold ones in abstract terms, “timely” 1 week before (!) the exhibition started at Gagosian.
As “we” all know, Gagosian and other established galleries in New York are obliged to show (= visible on the desk or at the wall) the art works’ price list in the exhibition space. However, Gagosian et al. act against the law by keeping the detailed price list secret.
This kind of art business anomaly makes the ordinary art lover suspicious. As the auction houses entered aggressively into the contemporary art world around 20 years ago, and as an oxymoron: because of “artnet” and “artprice”, transparency got lost.
AMM 2018/11/19 up-date:
“Late in Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening sale, Alberto Mugrabi jumped into the bidding on a white Warhol shadow painting topping another bid in the room but chopping it unexpectedly to $1.175m, visibly annoying auctioneer Oliver Barker.
The next night it was Larry Gagosian’s turn to be annoyed as he was seen buying to two different Warhol’s in the $5m range. On the second Warhol of the night, Gagosian got visibly annoyed when Christie’s auctioneer eked out another bid just as Gagosian thought the work had been bought. Nonetheless, the dealer topped the bid and bought the work.”
Painting/tableaux works, on the other hand, experienced a revival, as its medium is easy to “trade” as commodity, easy to store in freeports in Switzerland, Luxembourg or New York, and useful for mortgage.
For beginners: the higher the hammer price for a Grotjahn painting at an auction is, the easier you can mortgage that Grotjahn painting to get a large loan.
In this well known context, art flippers and auction “guarantees” became the new dysfunctional normal.
Murakami can nowadays be regarded as an artist who is well versed in art business. He obviously puts his energies on the speculative art market in mainland China.
Just by chance I got the opportunity to hear, read and see the actual prices of some of his works. A rare opportunity to get a pretty accurate up-date, or let’s say a reference regarding the secretive “art value” in Murakami’s art business world.
Most artists still rightfully believe in the “pureness” of art. The new reality in the global art world however implies clever art business practice. The art industry became an important economic factor in the international-oriented metropolis. Most museum directors, curators and collectors do art market research, even if they don’t mention it in art discussions. Of course, personal taste and passion for art should command our choice towards art work acquisitions. However, in every discourse, extracting the word “investment”, would mean to avoid the power of “myth making”.
Art practice involves myth making.
Sometimes in a conceptual way, sometimes in a wall power context, sometimes in a socio-political environment, and sometimes in the most decadent way one could not imagine until the “now”.
So here’s the info I can share with the reader.
Murakami’s recently executed big paintings could cost around US$ 3 – 4 million.
Smaller paintings/sculptural works should start at around US$ 200.000.
New middle-sized paintings could cost between US$ 250.000 and 1 million.
Established big paintings could value around US$ 5 – 6 million.
Established middle-sized paintings could go for US$ 2 – 3 million.
Good sculptural works in collaboration with other artists could start at around US$ 100.000.
Huge sculptural works should cost over US$ 5 million, if the subject seems to become of art historical value.
Printed edition works start at US$ 400, medium price = US$ 3000, last editions go for US$ 10.000.
Please note, that I can NOT guaranty that these numbers are exact, as they change from month to month. However, they help to get a reference, on the long run also for other Japanese contemporary artists of high calibre.
Tokyo, 16th of November 2018
DORAEMON, iconic Manga-Anime-“character” and symbol of Japanese art + culture, sells as MURAKAMI Takashi’s work for 565.000 US$ @ Sotheby’s
TAKASHI MURAKAMI IN WONDERLAND
@ PERROTIN, Shanghai
NOVEMBER 10, 2018 – JANUARY 05, 2019
MURAKAMI & ABLOH
October 10–25, 2018
@ Gagosian, Beverly Hills
Part 5 of Takashi Murakami×Virgil Abloh Collaboration prints “BRANDED IN TIME”
October 2018 @ Oz Zingaro, Nakano, Tokyo
Takashi Murakami (b. 1962)
Tan Tan Bo
acrylic on canvas mounted on board, in three parts
overall: 141 3/4 x 212 5/8 in. (360 x 540 cm.)
Painted in 2001.
Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2001
Property from an Important British Private Collection
Tokyo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Takashi Murakami: summon monsters? open doors? heal? or die?, August-November 2001, pp. 63-66 (illustrated in color and work in progress illustrated in color).
Paris, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain; London, Serpentine Gallery, Takashi Murakami, KaiKai KiKi, June 2002-January 2003, pp. 7-11, 92-97 and 108 (illustrated in color; work in progress and installation views illustrated in color).
Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art; Brooklyn Museum; Frankfurt, Museum für Moderne Kunst; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, ©Murakami, October 2007-May 2009, n.p. and p. 303 (illustrated in color).
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Vancouver Art Gallery; Fort Worth, Museum of Modern Art, Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, June 2017-September 2018, pp. 27-28, 144, 152, 154-7, 240 and 270 (illustrated in color).
AND THEN, AND THEN AND THEN AND THEN AND THEN (RED)
signed, dated ’96, and variously inscribed on the reverse of each panel
acrylic on canvas on board, in two parts
overall: 110 1/4 by 118 1/8 in. 280 by 300 cm.
14 NOVEMBER 2018 | 6:30 PM EST
SOTHEBY’S NEW YORK
Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Private Collection, Boston (acquired from the above in 2000)
Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Acquired from the above by David Teiger in July 2002
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, Center for Curatorial Studies Museum, Bard College, Takashi Murakami: The Meaning of the Nonsense of the Meaning, June – September 1999, p. 34, pl. 17, illustrated in color, p. 61, illustrated in color (detail), and pp. 62-63, no. 17, illustrated in color
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Takashi Murakami: Made in Japan, April – September 2001, illustrated in color on the brochure (detail) (incorrectly dated 1995)
Tokyo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Takashi Murakami: summon monsters? open the door? heal? or die?, August – November 2001, p. 35, illustrated in color, p. 59, illustrated (as reproduced in The New York Times), p. 63, illustrated (as reproduced in Vogue)
Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art; New York, Brooklyn Museum; Frankfurt, Museum für Moderne Kunst; and Bilbao, Guggenheim Museum, Murakami, October 2007 – May 2009, p. 179, illustrated in color
Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; Vancouver, Vancouver Art Gallery; and Fort Worth, Museum of Modern Art, Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, June 2017 – September 2018, p. 97, illustrated in color (detail), p. 98, illustrated in color, and p. 266, illustrated in color
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTOR
signed and dated ‘Takashi 2015’ on the overlap acrylic on canvas mounted on aluminium frame 141.4 x 120.2 cm. (55 5/8 x 47 3/8 in.)
Executed in 2015.
HK$ 4,500,000 – 8,500,000
SOLD FOR HK$5,860,000
PHILLIPS, 20TH CENTURY & CONTEMPORARY ART EVENING SALEHONG KONG AUCTION 25 NOVEMBER 2018
Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Magic Object, 27 February – 15 May 2016
(Next ART FLIPPER)
Flower collaboration with MADSAKI
signed and dated ‘TAKASHI 2017’ on the overlap
acrylic on canvas mounted on aluminium frame
141.3 x 120 cm. (55 5/8 x 47 1/4 in.)
Executed in 2017.
HK$ 2,000,000 – 3,000,000
SOLD FOR HK$2,000,000
Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong
Acquired from the above by the present owner
DOB & Me: On the Red Mound of the Dead, 2013
Acrylic on canvas mounted on board
39.4 x 39.4 x 2.5 in. (100.08 x 100.08 x 6.35 cm.)
Frame: 41 x 41 x 2.8 in. (104.14 x 104.14 x 7.11 cm.)
Inscribed with the staff names of Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., Japan/New York on the reverse
Ending: 12 days, 19 hours, 33 mins
September 17 at 12:33 p.m. (EDT)
Estimate: 450,000—550,000 USD
Opening Bid: 380,000 USD
History and Provenance
Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Private Collection, London
Private Collection, New York
Takashi Murakami, Arhat, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, April 13-May 25, 2013
Takashi Murakami (B. 1962)
HKD 2,000,000 – HKD 3,000,000
Takashi Murakami (B. 1962)
signed and dated ‘TAKASHI 1996’ (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas mounted on wood
48 x 48 in. (122 x 122 cm.)
Painted in 1996.
Feature, Inc., New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1998
A painting I made about 30 years ago with my own hands is coming up in an auction @christiesinc in Hong Kong. The work must be on display at the auction house, as several people have shot and posted the details on social media. As I captured and looked at some of those images, the painful feelings I had endured back around the time I painted the work vividly came back to me. As you can see from the photos, my techniques were totally crude and the work is poorly executed. It’s embarrassing to see my bewilderment laid bare on the surface, apparent in each brushstroke I made as I fumbled through my way, having never had seen a painting done in anime style in the art world. When I painted this piece, I hadn’t yet come up with the Superflat theory, and had never even dreamed that I would become an artist who paints lots of flowers. All I can remember feeling was pain and struggle.
more at Instagram:
SOTHEBY’S, Contemporary Evening Auction, 7 October 2022, Hong Kong
Result inclusive of Sotheby’s Buyer’s Premium and Overhead Premium
LOT 1221 Takashi Murakami 村上隆 “727”, 2015
acrylic on canvas mounted on board, in 3 parts
signed and titled 727 on the overlap
each: 300.5 by 150 cm. 118¼ by 59 in.
overall: 300.5 by 450 cm. 118¼ by 177⅛ in.
Estimate: 18,000,000 – 25,000,000 HKD
Lot sold: 20,945,000 HKD
Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Known for his brightly coloured works and incisive conceptual vision, Takashi Murakami is irrefutably one of the most pervasive and internationally recognised artists of our time. Combining fantasy, science and history, Murakami’s oeuvre is celebrated for its merging of Japanese pop cultural references with the country’s rich artistic legacy. Essentially eradicating the distinction between commodity and high art, Murakami is often compared to Andy Warhol for his business-like approach to his artistic practise. Significantly, an early example of this work 727 from 1996 is part of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection, and its imagery was used as the cover of the Exhibition Catalogue for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ 2007–2008 exhibition, ©MURAKAMI, testament to the significance of this work within the artist’s celebrated oeuvre. Murakami returned to this imagery again later in his career, as seen in the present work and similar graffiti-esque paintings exhibited in his solo show at Perrotin Gallery, Paris, Learning The Magic of Painting, in 2016, and today it represents one of the artist’s most iconic works.
In 727, a stylised wave crashes against a background punctuated with a punk-like chromatic palette of fluorescent reds, greens and blues. Mr. DOB, among the first of Murakami’s pantheon of characters inspired by the anime and manga culture that emerged in Japan’s postwar era, surfs this wave in the centre of the composition, his glittering eyes shining and teeth bared in a curious expression of glee. Drawing inspiration from the Japanese subculture of otaku, 727 is replete with strange perversions of cuteness and violence, which Murakami uses to craft a subtle critique of Japan’s pervasive commercial culture and the West’s invasive influence upon it.
Born and raised in Tokyo, where he attended Tokyo University of the Arts and gained a PhD in nihonga, a style of late 19th century Japanese paintings, it was in 1994 that Murakami debuted Mr. DOB. Whilst visiting New York City in 1994 to participate in the International Studio program as P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Centre (now MoMA PS1), Murakami has described how “As a young artist in New York, I thought about postwar Japan — the consumer culture, and the loose, deboned feeling prevalent in the character and animation culture. Mixing all those up in order to portray Japanese culture and society was my work.” (the artist quoted in Jay Caspian Kang, “Takashi Murakami on Making Art After the Tsunami”, The New York Times, 5 December 2014). It was at this exhibition that an inflatable version of Murakami’s most enduring character was shown.
Combining fantastical elements with recognisable cultural images, Mr. DOB’s fang-lined mouth and roaming eyes simultaneously recall the cartoon characters of Japanese anime with their oversized eyes, the manga character Doraemon and the Yokai monsters of Japanese folklore. Derived from the Japanese slang dobozite, which roughly translates as “why?”, Mr. DOB is the physical manifestation of Murakami’s pointed confrontation of the, largely Western dominated, art world. The title of the present work, 727, is reference to the Boeing American Airplanes and, by extension, the presence of the USA in post-World War Two Japan. Appearing in various incarnations since the early 1990s, the instantly recognisable figure has become a kind of mascot or alter-ego, with Murakami declaring “the audience doesn’t need the artist, only the character” (Murakami quoted in Amada Cruz, ‘Mr. DOB in the land of Otaku’. In Takashi Murakami: The Meaning of the Nonsense of the Meaning, 1999. P.17). At once a celebration and critique of contemporary culture, the paradoxical uncertainty represented by the figure of Mr. DOB is what makes Murakami’s work so intriguing.
In the present work, an aggressively cute Mr. DOB is surrounded by a dappled expanse of water. The highly stylised wave upon which this figure sits is an overt reference to the 19th century Japanese woodblock artist Hokusai, who’s bold colours and flattened compositions have been highly influential for Japanese artists and illustrators. The abstracted landscape of the compositions is reminiscent of the Japanese folding screens produced in the traditional nihonga style in which Murakami was trained. The soothing effect of the backdrop is in stark contract with the cartoonish Mr. DOB and the parodied version of Hokusai’s wave, Murakami masterfully conflating historical Japanese aesthetics and contemporary forms. This pluralistic artistic fusion is characteristic of Murakami’s oeuvre, which, along with an insistent two-dimensionality, can be seen in the present work, a prime example of the artist’s Superflat Theory. In defiance of the Western-dominated art world, Murakami created his own movement, taking cue from Andy Warhol in developing a new form of Pop in which past and present, fine art and pop consumerism are collapsed into a singular plane. The mechanical and aesthetic exactitude demonstrated in 727 is an example of the artist’s confrontation of the “flattening” of Japanese culture in the face of globalisation and the dominance of Western influence heralded by the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. As the artist has decisively declared in his Superflat manifesto: “Super flatness is an original concept of the Japanese, who have been completely Westernized.” (Takashi Murakami, Superflat Trilogy, Tokyo 2000, p. 155)
“As a young artist in New York, I thought about postwar Japan — the consumer culture, and the loose, deboned feeling prevalent in the character and animation culture. Mixing all those up in order to portray Japanese culture and society was my work.”
THE ARTIST QUOTED IN JAY CASPIAN KANG, “TAKASHI MURAKAMI ON MAKING ART AFTER THE TSUNAMI”, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 5 DECEMBER 2014
727 is a prime example of Murakami at his more carefree, and unsettling. Deceptively simplistic, the present work is emblematic of the multiplicity of reference and style that has come to define Murakami’s work, powerfully evoking the traditions of Japanese painting in a moment of what Murakami sees as the Westernisation of Japanese culture. This cultural and political agenda stands at the heart of Murakami’s work, with 727 providing a profound insight into the artist’s re-negotiation and re-staging of Japanese culture in a post-colonial world, unveiling a new critical perspective and an utterly original category of Japanese art.
The Man Who Ruined The Japanese Art World? An Unhappy MURAKAMI Takashi…
米国ギャラリー Blum&Poeのアーティスト・リストから外された村上隆 (2019/4/23)
Takashi Murakami Had Been Erased From American Gallery Blum & Poe’s Artists’ List
今日のJapan Times。「村上隆：日本のアート・アウトサイダー、平成時代を定義した、’嫌われた’アーティスト 」。不幸な村上隆、、、(2019/3/14)
Today’s Japan Times. “Takashi Murakami: Japan’s art outsider. The ‘hated’ artist who defined the Heisei Era”. An Unhappy MURAKAMI Takashi…
Contemporary artists from Japan, Top 6 (2020)
In Front of The Mori Art Museum, NOW! Japan’s No.1 Artist, Genius MURAKAMI Takashi’s, Made in America, Golden Bullshit Self-Portrait Sucks! ROFL!!
MURAKAMI Takashi Refuses To Give Any Press Interview (repost from the archive 過去サイト・アーカイブの再投稿 2015/10/16)
Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial-NoDerivative Works
photos: cccs courtesy creative common sense