Hirosaki City, Japan

“A to Z”

Yoshii Brick Brewhouse

Although frequently grouped with Takashi Murakami as representative of the new “Pop” tendency in contemporary Japanese art, Yoshitomo Nara, unlike Murakami, avoids any ironic distancing from contemporary Japanese culture. Instead, his strength lies in his evocation of childhood. His paintings and sculptures of children and dogs, through their malformation, convey loneliness and anger but also forgiveness, indicating the simultaneously destructive and restorative power of innocence. For that reason, Nara has attracted the general public, who recognize in his work an embodiment of the inner child repressed in the process of socialization. Nara’s work has become a contemporary equivalent of folk art, representing and consoling even people who otherwise feel alienated from modern art; in his Snoopy-Buddha sculptures and graffitilike drawings, this audience recognizes the hybrid creativity in

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