We want to see the newest things. That is because we want to see the future, even if only momentarily. It is the moment in which, even if we don’t completely understand what we have glimpsed, we are nonetheless touched by it. This is what we have come to call art.
We are driven by an innate ambition to make artworks that are shaped by societal observations—in a variety of media—which by their existence produce a new cultural impact.
Gagosian is pleased to present new collaborative works by Takashi Murakami and Virgil Abloh, following their first exhibition, future history, at Gagosian London.
During their recent collaboration, Murakami and Abloh have produced works in which their respective styles and trademarks intersect in a stream of freewheeling, punkish mash-ups. In this exhibition, new iterations of the “Times Nature” (2018) paintings include multimedia works such as “animated” and illuminated paintings, which play on cultural references, ideas of production and reproduction, and concepts of linear time. Two sculptures will be included in the exhibition: in “Life Itself” (2018), an oversize three-dimensional iteration of Murakami’s smiling flower motif sits in the open doorway of a greenhouse-like structure, expressively spray-painted in black; and in “Our Outer Space” (2018), Mr. DOB, one of Murakami’s many invented characters, emerges from Abloh’s signature four-point arrow logo. The two artists, kindred spirits from different sectors of a broader cultural zone, reflect incisively on the signs of the times in which we live, while working to disrupt the stratifications of cultural production.
In his protean oeuvre, Murakami draws from sources as diverse as traditional Japanese painting, otaku subculture, Western art theory, Hollywood cinema, and hip-hop. His expansive art production spills over into fashion, film, and commercial commodities both luxurious and cheap, erasing entrenched divisions between high art and pop culture.
Abloh, trained as an architect and engineer, works across fashion, architecture, performance, and consumer products, often deconstructing the creative process in public to challenge and analyze existing aesthetic systems and their distribution. The street-couture label Off-White, which he founded in 2013, combines conventional tailoring with more subversive references.
The artists will be in attendance at the opening reception.
Takashi Murakami was born in 1962 in Tokyo, where he lives and works. Recent institutional exhibitions include Takashi Murakami Versailles, Château de Versailles, France (2010); Murakami-Ego, Qatar Museums Authority, Doha (2012); Arhat Cycle, Palazzo Reale, Milan (2014); Murakami: The 500 Arhats, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2015); Murakami by Murakami, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway (2017); Takashi Murakami: The Deep End of the Universe, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Takashi Murakami. Under the Radiation Falls, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2017); The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2017, traveled to Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada, in 2018; and Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX, in 2018). Murakami is the founder of Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd., an art production and art management corporation, which both produces his work and functions as a supportive environment for emerging artists.
The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg is currently on view at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX, until September 16.
Virgil Abloh was born in 1980 in Rockford, Illinois. After earning a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he completed a master’s degree in architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology. In 2013 he founded a Milan-based clothing line entitled Off-White, for which he was awarded the British Fashion Council’s Urban Luxe award in 2017. In 2019, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, will hold a retrospective of his work, curated by Michael Darling.
In March, Louis Vuitton named Abloh its new artistic director of menswear. He will show his first collection for Louis Vuitton during Paris Men’s Fashion Week on June 21, 2018.