NEW YORK — Art stars, fashionistas and music fans partied under one roof Thursday night at the Brooklyn Museum to celebrate the opening of "© Murakami," a comprehensive retrospective of internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.
The retrospective features work that draws from street culture, high art and traditional Japanese painting, and includes painting, sculpture, installation and animation. Critics have even labeled Murakami "the new Warhol."
Murakami is widely known for his design for Louis Vuitton bags, which made their entrance into the fashion scene in 2003. Marc Jacobs, artistic director of Louis Vuitton, which sponsored the event, described the opening as a "fantastic collision of fashion, art and music." Jacobs said of Murakami's cross-branding style that it is "reminiscent of the old days, where creative people didn't tay in their box [but] bonded with each other and collaborated with each other."
Murakami has further been recognized for his collaborations with Kanye West, who tapped Murakami to design the album cover for his latest record, Graduation. The colorful, pastel imagery captures Murakami's fascination with anime and manga (comic books). Murakami had some interesting words to offer about working with West. "It was difficult," the artist said, "because every week, Kanye has new ideas — changing, changing, changing." However, according to Murakami, their friendship remains intact. When asked if they had a close relationship, Murakami responded with a chuckle, saying, "I think so. I believe so. I don't know — please ask him."
We did, in fact, want to ask him, but Kanye declined an interview. However, at the Nobu-catered dinner that followed cocktail hour, MTV News was able to pull the Louis Vuitton Don aside to talk about Murakami. Kanye expressed an immense love for Murakami's work, and even commented on the bright orange bowtie worn that night by the artist, saying he wished he had one himself.
The conversation turned from art to politics, and we asked Kanye if he, like other artists such as Pete Wentz and Will.I.Am, supports Senator Barack Obama in the presidential race. His reply signaled to us that he wasn't quite ready to publicly throw his support behind any specific candidate.
To top off the night, Kanye took the stage under a giant screen emblazoned with Murakami art. And, as the artist himself watched from the crowd, West blazed through a six-song set of his biggest hits — including "Flashing Lights," "Good Morning" and "The Good Life" — that pleased the mostly older crowd and kept them hungry for more art and music. (Check out photos of the show right here.)
"© Murakami" runs from now until July 13 at the Brooklyn Museum.