zurich

Keiichi Tanaami, ring and pole series B, 1980, wood, lacquer, 21 1/2 x 15 3/4 x 9 1/2".

Keiichi Tanaami

Studiolo

Keiichi Tanaami, ring and pole series B, 1980, wood, lacquer, 21 1/2 x 15 3/4 x 9 1/2".

In 1975, Keiichi Tanaami—having designed record covers for the Monkees and Jefferson Airplane, worked with Robert Rauschenberg, and visited Warhol’s Factory—became the first art director of Japanese Playboy. But Tanaami, born in Tokyo in 1936, as Japan battled in Manchuria and prepared for its forthcoming Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany, is more than just an illustrator. The psychedelic pleasures called forth by his multifarious work—graphic design, animation, painting, film, and sculpture—belie its dark and restive content. The industries of sex and war are the parallel tracks along which Tanaami’s brilliant, fluorescent Pop oeuvre glides, sometimes amorphously. In his notorious animated films, for example, bombs become cocks, breasts become fighter jets, Coke bottles become pinup girls, flames become rainbows, ad infinitum.

Tanaami’s nearly unknown sculptures

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