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From ‘Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

Acclaimed for representing the aesthetics of Japanese post-war pop culture Takashi Murakami’s practice is usually considered a critique on the “shallow emptiness of Japanese consumer culture”¹. By exaggerating the popular imagery of manga and anime for a gallery context, he was first acknowledged for bringing Japanese art to an international art audience in his 2001 exhibition ‘Superflat’, and then later in 2005 when organising the show ‘Little Boy‘.
In his pursuit to meld art objects with luxury brands, the artist famously collaborated with Louis Vuitton to advertise the world’s most counterfeited handbag.  By celebrating a symbol of insatiable consumer desire, Murakami took this idea a step further when a Louis Vuitton store became part of his retrospective exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, fogging the boundaries between art and advertising, creativity and commerce.
In 2010, some inspired curation led to Murakami exhibiting at the Palace of Versailles in France where his elaborate brand of pop art lent the regal surroundings some brightly coloured, inflatable-looking sculptures.
More recently, in 2015, the artist created a 100 metre-long mural depicting 500 followers of Buddha. While the surface of the paintings are brimming with Ben-Day dots, these works tell older narratives. A selection of photos from the exhibition ‘Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo follow:
¹ Hunter Drohojowska-Philp
'Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum

From ‘Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

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From ‘Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

From 'Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

From ‘Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

From 'Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

From ‘Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

From 'Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

From ‘Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

From 'Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

From ‘Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

From 'Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

From ‘Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

From 'Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

From ‘Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

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From ‘Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ at Mori Art Museum (2015). Photo: Nick West

Takashi Murakami was born in Tokyo (1963). The artist lives and works in Tokyo and New York City.
artsy.net/artist/takashi-murakami
©Nick West 2016