The Un-Private Collection: Takashi Murakami + Benoit Pagotto + Ed Schad
In advance of the opening of the special exhibition Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow, The Broad presents an Un-Private Collection conversation between the iconic visual artist Takashi Murakami and the co-founder of RTFKT Studios Benoit Pagotto, moderated by The Broad’s Curator and Publications Manager Ed Schad.
Murakami’s paintings featured in the exhibition welcome Buddhist Arhats and Daoist Immortals to ward off and move through disaster. The artist has embarked on the same path in his exploration of the burgeoning metaverse through the creation of avatars that seek to heal and offer a path toward enlightenment. Murakami’s avatars, arhats, and Immortals, all arrived in the artist’s work in times of trouble, and all are intermediaries between worlds—in the arhats’ case, one of spirit; in the avatars' case, one of digital existence.
This conversation will explore Murakami’s interest in the possibilities of the metaverse and the potential for transcendent, spiritual, or healing experiences through it.
The program was livestreamed on The Broad website, as well as on @TheBroadMuseum Facebook page.
ASL interpreters provided by Pro Bono ASL
Tickets include access to the special exhibitions Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow and This Is Not America’s Flag and the third floor galleries between Wednesday, May 25 and Sunday, May 29, 2022, during operating hours. Access to Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013) is not included and must be booked separately here. Please present your Un-Private Collection ticket at the main entrance of The Broad.
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Drawing from traditional Japanese painting, sci-fi, anime, and the global art market, Broad collection artist Takashi Murakami creates paintings, sculptures, and films populated by repeated motifs and mutating characters of his own creation embodying an intersection of pop culture, history, and fine art. In 2000, Murakami curated Superflat, an exhibition that advanced his Superflat theory of art, highlighting the “flatness” of Japanese visual culture from traditional painting to contemporary subcultures in the context of World War II and its aftermath. Following the Tōhoku earthquake of 2011 and the subsequent nuclear crisis at Fukushima, Murakami began exploring the impact of natural disasters on Japanese art and culture. His 2014 Gagosian exhibition in New York, In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow, featured an immersive installation of eclectic arhats; deliquescing clones of his fictional creature Mr. DOB; and karajishi, the mythic lions that guard Japanese Buddhist temples, entered through a replica of a sanmon, or sacred gate. In 2021, Murakami developed the CloneX NFT initiative in collaboration with RTFKT Studios. CloneX is a series of NFT avatars conceived as three-dimensional figures bearing his distinctive motifs including the artist’s Murakami.Flowers NFT project that combine his Superflat aesthetic with a style that evokes nostalgia for the pixelated graphics of 1980s video games.
Murakami earned a BA, MFA, and PhD from Tokyo University of the Arts, where he studied nihonga (traditional Japanese painting). In 1996, he established the Hiropon Factory, a studio/workshop that in subsequent years grew into an art production and artist management company, now known as Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd.
Benoit Pagotto is a co-founder of RTFKT Studios and is leading the next generation of creatives to redefine the relationship between creativity and business. Founded in 2020, RTKFT is a studio for next generation fashion and collectibles for the metaverse. RTKFT Studios works across fashion, gaming, NFTs, and blockchain authentication, and eventually caught the attention of Nike which acquired the company. RTKFT collaborated with Takashi Murakami on his recently issued NFTs. Prior to founding RTFKT, Benoit worked in the luxury goods and gaming industries. He studied visual art in Paris at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts.
Ed Schad is Curator and Publications Manager at The Broad in Los Angeles. Most recently, he curated the special exhibition Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow. Previously, he curated the monographic survey exhibition, Shirin Neshat: I Will Greet the Sun Again, and edited and wrote the book to accompany the exhibition. He also curated Carlos Cruz-Diez's Couleur Additive, co-curated a trilogy of group exhibitions Creature, Oracle, and A Journey that Wasn't, and was the host-curator of Jasper Johns: Something Resembling Truth co-organized by The Broad and the Royal Academy of London. He is the editor in chief of 50 Artists: Highlights of the Broad Collection, and he is the managing editor of The Broad Collection; The Broad: An Art Museum Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro; The Broad: Art and Architecture; and Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life, all published by Delmonico Prestel. Schad’s writing has been included in Art Review, Frieze, Modern Painters, Flash Art, The Brooklyn Rail, L.A. Weekly, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.
About The Un-Private Collection
The Un-Private Collection is an ongoing series of public programs The Broad began in September 2013. The series introduces audiences to the museum’s 2,000-work contemporary art collection by showcasing stories behind the collection, the collectors and the artists. Since launching the program, The Broad has brought together a variety of artists whose works are in the Broad collection in conversation with cultural leaders, including Mark Bradford with Katy Siegel, Shirin Neshat with Christy MacLear, Jeff Koons with John Waters, Takashi Murakami with Pico Iyer, Eric Fischl with Steve Martin, John Currin with James Cuno, Kara Walker with Ava DuVernay and architect Elizabeth Diller with Eli Broad, Joanne Heyler and Paul Goldberger. Talks have been held at venues throughout Los Angeles, making the programming available to audiences across the city. Conversations are live-streamed and full videos of past talks are available online. The Un-Private Collection series is part of the Broad collection’s 30-year mission to make contemporary art accessible to the widest possible audience.Read More
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