During their recent collaboration, Murakami and Abloh have produced works in which their respective styles and trademarks intersect in a stream of freewheeling, punkish mash-ups. In this exhibition, new iterations of the “TIMES NATURE” (2018) paintings include multimedia works such as “animated” and illuminated paintings, which play on cultural references, ideas of production and reproduction, and concepts of linear time. Two sculptures will be included in the exhibition: in “LIFE ITSELF” (2018), an oversize three-dimensional iteration of Murakami’s smiling flower motif sits in the open doorway of a greenhouse-like structure, expressively spray-painted in black; and in “OUR OUTER SPACE” (2018), Mr. DOB, one of Murakami’s many invented characters, emerges from Abloh’s signature four-point arrow logo. The two artists, kindred spirits from different sectors of a broader cultural zone, reflect incisively on the signs of the times in which we live, while working to disrupt the stratifications of cultural production.
In his protean oeuvre, Murakami draws from sources as diverse as traditional Japanese painting, otaku subculture, Western art theory, Hollywood cinema, and hip-hop. His expansive art production spills over into fashion, film, and commercial commodities both luxurious and cheap, erasing entrenched divisions between high art and pop culture.
Abloh, trained as an architect and engineer, works across fashion, architecture, performance, and consumer products, often deconstructing the creative process in public to challenge and analyze existing aesthetic systems and their distribution. The street-couture label Off-White, which he founded in 2013, combines conventional tailoring with more subversive references.
“We want to see the newest things. That is because we want to see the future, even if only momentarily. It is the moment in which, even if we don’t completely understand what we have glimpsed, we are nonetheless touched by it. This is what we have come to call art.” —Takashi Murakami
“We are driven by an innate ambition to make artworks that are shaped by societal observations—in a variety of media—which by their existence produce a new cultural impact.” —Virgil Abloh
Takashi Murakami and Virgil Abloh, “TIMES NATURE”, 2018, acrylic on canvas mounted on board, 59 1/16 × 59 1/16 inches (150 × 150 cm) © Virgil Abloh and © Takashi Murakami