Depending on which side of the art critique spectrum you stand on, Takashi Murakami is either a boon to contemporary Japanese art or a blight and disease that is ruining otaku culture. But say what you will, there’s one undeniable fact: he’s one of the most commercially successful artists Japan has ever exported. And now, after 14 years, he’s returning to Japan for a large-scale solo exhibition.
Since setting sail for the international art world in 2001, Murakami has shown his work in numerous countries from New York and Paris to Germany, Spain, Taiwan and Qatar. And now, beginning October 31, 2015, “Murakami Takashi: The 500 Arhats” will open at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo.
Why has he been away from Japan, his home country, for so long? Perhaps his heavy-hearted announcement of the show helps explain how the artist is feeling. Yesterday on Facebook Murakami wrote that, in short, he was feeling distressed over all the haters. He was foretelling all the rants and criticisms from the Japanese art community, who are unable to celebrate the artist for who he is and instead attempt to discredit his work.
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed Murakami’s work, especially his latest show at the Gagosian. I applaud him, on a very basic level, for helping telegraph Japanese art around the world. The exhibition will run from October 31 to March 6, 2016 and will comprise “The 500 Arhats” and a number of never-before-seen new works.