July 16, 2011

"'I love business,' says the artist, who’s interested in evoking money and the market in his art..."

The artist, Takashi Murakami...
...is baffled by what his art costs today. He says he discussed prices with dealer Larry Gagosian before the show, and hearing the figures, told Gagosian that they were “a little bit expensive.” According to Murakami, Gagosian replied, “No, this is big, this is big!”

At last month’s Art Basel contemporary fair, Murakami says, an art adviser told him that prices were now substantially higher than before the September 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. It’s “bigger and bigger,” says Murakami. “Very scary.”

Does he think he’s too expensive? “I think so, yes, honestly, yes,” Murakami says. At the same time, his expenses are high: He employs about 200 people, and has costly travel and communications bills.

Surprisingly, the artist says he lives in a small apartment. “I cannot buy my home yet,” he says. His salary is “a small amount of money.”

The way he describes it, Murakami’s lifestyle is far from luxurious: He spends his days in the studio, painting and sculpting creatures like the blonde hovering over him.
Let's take a closer look at that blonde. Here's video of Murakami talking about the sexuality and the business of his art. 


Bob said...

Fiberglass reinforced plastic and steel. My kind of woman.

chickenlittle said...

The artist appears to live on inflated Crumb(s).

commoncents said...

Interesting... thank you for posting this!

Common Cents

edutcher said...

I think getting them that big has a definite effect on price, but, give him credit, he knows what he likes.

PS If you navigate away from the page before the comment is published or you're signed in (e.g., to take another look at the article), it goes away. Didn't happen the other way.

WV "palaban" A guy in black hired by the bad guys in A-stan.

Just so you know.

NYTNewYorker said...

200 employees? Can't own a home? I think his art is buffoonery.

He needs a Federal grant, I can see it now.


David said...

Perhaps the Obamas could include the big bronze dick with no balls in their next WH art update.

Balfegor said...

If you look at the text below the image of the statue, it isn't even his, really:

(Original rendering by Seiji Matsuyama, modeling by BOME and Genpachi Tokaimura, full scale sculpture by Lucky-Wide Co., Ltd.),

If you look those up, it turns out Matsuyama is a manga artist (he did Eiken which is full of, ah, the same kind of thing), and Tokaimura is figure in the plastic modelling world (here is his HP). I can't tell what, if anything, Murakami is supposed to have done there. Maybe it's supposed to be a comment on how anime/manga and plastic model figures are shaping images of the feminine and blah blah blah, but it looks more like he (or whoever designed the exhibit) is playing it completely straight to me.

Murakami's older stuff, with colourful psychotic looking panda-creatures and so on, was not my cup of tea, but it was interesting and I could see the appeal. I hate to talk about "originality," since I think mere "originality" in art (and in general) is grossly overrated, but his old work had it, and this stuff clearly hasn't.

Jay Oestreich said...

Seems to me the guy likes life sized Hentai.

I'll pass.

Ann Althouse said...

"Murakami's older stuff, with colourful psychotic looking panda-creatures and so on, was not my cup of tea, but it was interesting and I could see the appeal."

Click on my "Murakami" tag. I have some photos that I took of some of the older stuff.

gadfly said...

"What do model train sets and women's breasts have in common?

Well, both are intended for children, but it's the fathers that always end up playing with them."

Alex said...

Did you see the giant golden penis?

Alex said...

Blogger changed their interface all of a sudden and I can't say it's good. Now it's a 2 step process for posting.

Carol_Herman said...

Well, it's gold! If you get a cheat sheet, first, so you know what's hot. And, what's. not

Sometimes, though, you've got to wonder why it costs so much? And, other times ... why a person isn't more famous.

Fame is an odd commodity. It strikes. But luck has a lot to do with it.

Hec, art's always been popular. You could show it to people who couldn't read nad write.

Which, as my mom said, when she studied fine arts, it's a good thing the Vatican invested. It fed really talented people!

Carol_Herman said...

I'm with Alex.

Is Google trying to prove you decided not to leave? The interface has changed. And, it's not for the better.

Even worse, you threatening to put people in your spam filter? What's with that?

gadfly said...

Blogger didn't change its Comment interface but Althouse changed hers -- along with her subtitle at the top and maybe even her picture.

gadfly said...

This comment interface appears to be Disqus. Note below that you can use five sources for your registered ID.

The Crack Emcee said...

In every dream home a heartache
And every step I take
Takes me further from heaven
Is there a heaven?
I`d like to think so
Standards of living
They're rising daily
But home oh sweet home
It's only a saying
From bell push to faucet
In smart town apartment
The cottage is pretty
The main house a palace
Penthouse perfection
But what goes on
What to do there
Better pray there

Open plan living
Bungalow ranch style
All of it's comforts
Seem so essential
I bought you mail order
My plain wrapper baby
Your skin is like vinyl
The perfect companion
You float my new pool
De luxe and delightful
Inflatable doll
My role is to serve you
Disposable darling
Can't throw you away now
Immortal and life size
My breath is inside you
I'll dress you up daily
And keep you till death sighs
Inflatable doll
Lover ungrateful
I blew up your body
But you blew my mind

Oh those heartaches
Dreamhome heartaches

Roxy Music - In Every Dream Home a Heartache

Ann Althouse said...

I changed the interface! It's an option I opted for. Why do you prefer the other thing? Jeeze, the dissing of Blogger is a reflex!

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I made a few tweaks. These are my choices. If you have a criticism, aim it at me.

Ann Althouse said...

Open ID has been the system here for a long time. It's just displayed differently.

lewsar said...


wv: imate, every chance i get

NYTNewYorker said...

"Sometimes I think it's a sin
When I feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again"

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I made a few tweaks. These are my choices. If you have a criticism, aim it at me.

I'm not giving you a hard time, just wanted to note that it was happening. If it's a feature, not a bug, so be it.

Ann Althouse said...

Ok. Sorry to be prickly about it, but I am trying to make it better.

madAsHell said...

Well, most of us here are fairly conservative.

If something changes, then we want to know WHY!!!! more better...isn't good English, and we don't trust it!!

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

Ok. Sorry to be prickly about it, but I am trying to make it better.

No problem.

Having tweaked my share (more than my share, probably) of interfaces, I know how time-consuming, and sometimes thankless, a job it can be.

bgates said...

Did you see the giant golden penis?

Every time I take a leak.

Palladian said...

Japan is a pernicious influence on world culture.

Steve Austin said...

So someone paid this guy 15 million for a giant golden penis?

Obama is right. The rich have too much money. We need a 50 percent art surtax on this crap.

Sheepman said...

Good interview, liked his candor, humility and playfulness.

For what it's worth, I prefer the previous Blogger interface.

Freeman Hunt said...

If you buy the gigantic, golden phallus, do you put it in a room to take the place of the elephant?

Lonetown said...

its kitsch and fetish raised to an exaggeration.

ken in sc said...

The 'Three Meter Girl' is knock-kneed and pidgin-toed, not bow-legged.

BTW, the new interface takes more clicks to go from one post and comments to another. Consequently, the older one was better for me.

roesch-voltaire said...

I've liked his work when I first saw it and five years ago brought In his book "SupperFlat,"where he explains "The willful ignoring of both copyrights and sexuality censorship created an intentional chaos that is represented in the radical nature of contemporary "art" in Japan" Thus the fusion of high and low, the use of many different artist involved in his studio, and the willingness to engage the "art market" of critics, sellers and buyers who determine what is hot. And given the %40 plus that the gallery owner takes, minus shipping etc, I can see that not much is left over.

Mitch H. said...

Ugh, Eiken. Eiken fans are the people furries make fun of.

murgatroyd666 said...

If you wanted something like the "3-meter Girl" you could easily commission a sculpture based on any of millions of the similar home-grown manga images on DeviantArt.

People are paying for the prestige of buying Expensive Art, probably thinking it's an investment.

mtrobertsattorney said...

You've got to admire this guy for his honesty. If art is self-expression of the artist, then this is the "self" he is expressing.