New York

“Little Boy”

Japan Society

Contemporary Japan is still at heart a defeated Japan. That was the central claim of “Little Boy,” the final installment of a series of exhibitions curated by Takashi Murakami around his signature concept, Superflat.

“Little Boy” was the code name for the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and the exhibition aspired, in part, to account for the recurrence of themes relating to nuclear destruction in Japanese visual culture since the end of World War II. To this end, Murakami exhibited a number of clips from relevant live-action and animated science fiction. But the primary aim of “Little Boy” was to place these objects alongside others in relation to Japanese subculture. Like previous Murakami exhibitions, the show intermingled artworks with some of the greatest successes of the Japanese culture industries. For example, in the first gallery, clips and promotional by-products

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