Though the works of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, et al. long ago settled comfortably into the canon, the spores germinating from their carcasses may have left even the most sympathetic, Pop-attuned viewers rather eye-glazed. Just about every earthly enclave that today sustains the battle-weary culture of “high” contemporary art has been overtaken by the slick of “Neo-Pop.” Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s work as a painter, sculptor, “conceptual” impresario, and unapologetic, indeed gleeful vendor of pop-cultural effluvia may seem all too easily accommodating when it comes to the sort of Exxon Valdez mediacratic spillage in the galleries of New York and Los Angeles. But if the temptation to regard Murakami as yet another metastasis of the Pop consciousness is, in the most obvious, dunderheaded way, “correct,” it fails to account for the artist’s specificity—in short, his originality.
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