Tadanori Yokoo

Seibu Museum

Tadanori Yokoo has been talked about and written about throughout all the stages of his career—from a superstar poster designer and graphic artist in the ’60s, through his spiritual transformations of the ’70s, to his conversion to full-time painting in the ’80s. At this recent exhibition, entitled “Neo Roman Baroque,” a young man commented that “Yokoo is Tokyo’s William Blake,” a remark that said more about Yokoo and his work than anything I had previously heard or read. Although it is an exaggeration (and even a bit of a distortion) to identify Yokoo with Blake, one can see in Yokoo’s works the 20th-century equivalents of Blake’s private cosmologies, new visual vocabularies, and fascination with the occult. There are also the same rhythmic tidal whirls that flow in his newest paintings, such as Soldier’s Dream, 1986. Perhaps more than with Blake, however, these latest works show stylistic

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