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Yoshitomo Nara: Making Space for Misfits
by Janet Koplos


Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami began to get international recognition at almost the same time, both admired for their childhood/pop culture imagery. Nara had a bit of a head start, particularly in Europe, since he was living in Germany from 1988 to 2000. But Murakami’s rise to fame was so explosive in the U.S. that for a time Nara was in danger of seeming to be merely one of Murakami’s pet artists. There were some contemporary Japanophiles who thought that was a shame, because Nara’s work seemed genuinely motivated rather than for show. For those of us in that camp, Nara’s solo show at the Asia Society Museum in New York, occupying two floors of exhibition space and concurrent with two public sculptures on Park Avenue, was good news indeed, a chance for him to get some deserved exposure.

Dogs from Your Childhood, 1999.
Fiberglass, wood, fabric, and acrylic paint, 72 x 60 x 40 in.

Photo: © Elsa Ruiz, Courtesy Asia Society Museum

 


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