Murakami: Versailles
Murakami: Versailles
Murakami: Versailles

Murakami: Versailles

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The marvelous chambers of the Château de Versailles boast such overwhelming splendors of décor and craft that it might seem the height of folly to pit the works of any one artist against them. But in fact, such a collaboration turns out to be a formula for great success, when the right artist is given the reins. Jeff Koons managed it in 2008, and in 2010, Japanese Pop impresario Takashi Murakami rose to the challenge. In a grand hall sporting a vaulted ceiling thick with paint and gold stands a snowman like construction, stacked spheres of grinning Technicolor flowers that sprouted gleeful tentacles and antennae, while a blonde manga minx in a near-pornographic maid's costume offers an exuberant gesture of welcome. This is "my Versailles, manga style," Murakami declares, throwing down the gauntlet to those who would preserve Versailles from such glorious and fantastical encounters; "I am the Cheshire cat that welcomes Alice in Wonderland with its diabolic smile, and chatters away as she wanders around the Château." Across 125 color plates, this magnificent volume documents the show's22 works, which included seven new sculptures never before exhibited.
Takashi Murakami was born in Tokyo in 1963. Having studied traditional arts such as Nihonga, he quickly found ways to update their imagery through Japan's burgeoning "otaku" (geek) culture of manga and anime. Murakami's "Superflat" style and emphasis on readily grasp able imagery with an edge has led to a Warhol-esque production plant generating t-shirts, key chains and plush dolls alongside painting and sculpture. He has also collaborated with Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Kanye West. In 2008 Murakami was named one of Time magazine's"100 Most Influential People," and was the only artist to make the list.