The Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles was the meeting place of over one thousand art lovers on May 29, 2014, who all attended the sixth edition of The Broad Museum Un-Private Collection Talk series. The conversation featured celebrated artist Takashi Murakami and writer Pico Iyer, who tackled an interesting array of subjects, going through various topics such as the Japanese artistic education, Murakami’s inspirations and views, to his latest film release and his regards of the famous, but anonymous British street artist Banksy. Audience hosted prominent cultural figures, while two luminaries engaged in the interview, focusing on Murakami.
Takashi Murakami is frequently compared to Andy Warhol, not only for his influence on the art world, but for the impact he has on today’s pop culture as well. The line between the two is not clear in his work, as the overlap and create a particular fusion of content and context within what is perceived as his “superflat” style. The artist takes his inspiration from street art, fine art and traditional Japanese printmaking and painting techniques, while his prolific oeuvre spans over painting, sculpture, installations, animation and film.
The role of conversation moderator was given to the cultural philosopher and writer Pico Iyer, who has been residing in Japan for a very long time, and who is today dividing his time between this far eastern country and California. He is a great connoisseur of Japanese culture and he authored 10 books and hundreds of essays. Iyer’s essay about Murakami will be published in the coming catalog of the Broan Museum. Pico Iyer’s own work has common grounds with Murakami’s approach, as they both tend to disassociate from local traditions and bind themselves to the imported global pop culture.
Part of the interview was dedicated to the film feature recently released by the artist, entitled Jellyfish Eyes, which premiered first in New York and then in Los Angeles. Throughout the event, Murakami wore a hat similar to one worn by one of the movie’s key characters, Kurage-bo (Jellyfish Boy), who is actually an odd being that looks like a very rare and expensive kind of jellyfish. The film is set in Japan in post-Fukushima time, and it tells the tale of growing up and maturing. Murakami often evokes natural catastrophes in his work, and one of the more emotional moments of the conversation with Iyer was when he spoke of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, emphasizing the importance of the narrative, even in the moments of greatest hardship.
The Broad Collection stands for the novel contemporary art museum in Los Angeles, built by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. The new Broad Museum building is expected to be completed and open for public in 2015, housing about 2,000 artworks from collections of the Broad Foundation and the Broad family personal collection, showcasing the most important pieces belonging to the postwar and contemporary art movements. The fantastic new two-floor space will also be a home to the Broan Art Foundation’s global lending library.
Takashi Murakami is represented in the Broad Collection by 11 works of art, some of which will be on display once the museum opens its doors next year.