Contemporary art can be a challenging field for even the most seasoned art lovers. That’s because many artists produce work that challenges our perception of the world, which means their pieces are often visually complicated and filled with symbolism. To make matters more complicated, there are so many contemporary artists working today that it can be difficult to keep track of them all.
If you have seen the brilliant Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s work in person or online but aren’t sure where to go from here, this article is here to help. Read on for an introduction to some of Murakami’s most famous pieces and where you can see them in person.
Finding Murakami’s Work In Person
One of the best ways to get a sense of the breadth of Murakami’s oeuvre is to visit a museum or art space hosting one of his special exhibitions. One of the best places to see Murakami’s work in person is the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA).
This museum is currently hosting a massive exhibition of Murakami’s work that runs through January 2020. Visitors to MOCA can also check out the museum’s extensive permanent collection of contemporary pieces from artists.
What Is Takashi Murakami Famous For?
Before diving into Murakami’s most famous pieces, it’s helpful to get a sense of his larger body of work. Takashi Murakami, who is known for his vivid, large-scale paintings, has made a name for himself by combining Japanese art and culture with Western art movements. Murakami’s work is often described as “super flat,” a term coined by the artist and his colleagues in the art scene of the 1990s.
Superflat is meant to describe the postmodern nature of Japanese culture, which is simultaneously over-the-top and minimalist. Murakami’s work is also characterized by an over-the-top use of color, which he uses to explore themes of consumerism, youth, and the nature of art.
Happy Together: Murakami’s Most Well-Known Piece
By now, you’ve probably noticed that many of Murakami’s most famous pieces feature a bold use of Japanese imagery. Happy Together, which was first displayed in 2002, is no exception. Murakami first displayed this painting at the Japan/China 2002 joint exhibition.
The Octopus Eats Its Leg: Murakami’s Most Symbolic Piece
The Octopus Eats Its Leg is one of Murakami’s most symbolic works. The painting, which is currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum, is part of a larger series of paintings called “The Octopus Eats Its Leg.”
The painting depicts an octopus with multiple human legs growing out of its head. The octopus is painted in an electric blue and turquoise, a color palette that Murakami has used throughout his career.
Sumo Wrestling: Murakami’s Most Playful Piece
For many, Sumo Wrestling stands out as the ultimate example of Murakami’s playful nature. This enormous painting, which was completed in 2001, features two sumo wrestlers wearing ornate, colorful masks and ornate, colorful kimono. Sumo Wrestling is more than 16 feet tall and is one of Murakami’s best-known paintings in the West, having been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 2007.
There’s no doubt that Murakami’s work is fascinating. But is it art? That depends on whom you ask. There’s no doubt that contemporary art is challenging. It often takes abstract, conceptual pieces to truly get a sense of the breadth of contemporary art. Murakami’s work, on the other hand, is a great place to start for anyone looking to get a better understanding of contemporary art.