‘Tis the Season Already?: Murakami’s Overt Commercialism

Walking to work on 57th St. in Manhattan, I cross 5th Avenue and with it, a slew of the gorgeous shop windows remind me that the holiday season is upon is. (It’s useless to protest that its not even Thanksgiving yet.) Tiffany’s glistens in a classically elegant way, while Loius Vuitton exuberantly flashes.

If you want to combine art and fashion in your luxury gift giving this year, why not get that special someone a Murakami Loius Vuitton purse. As a purse, I find it beyond tacky, but the artist behind the new and exclusive print is a marketing genius, and his flat pop art tackles Japanimation and kitsch with a flatly sardonic flair.

To the left is Murakami posing in front of some of his flower images. I first became aware of his work during his summer show at the Brooklyn Musuem of Art, where in a unusual gesture a Loius Vuitton botique was installed in the midst of the gallery space. He’s often called Japan’s Andy Warhol, and his flat and colorful images loose some of their big-eyed innocence once once you throw in nuclear disaster and a creepier side to anime figures, like the one below.

If any of you yearn for the old-fashioned days of sweaters and fruitcake, instead of neon-lit luxury goods featuring creepy anime beings, well, you’re not alone.

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