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Sex, cartoons and superflat. How Takashi Murakami became Japan’s answer to Andy Warhol

Murakami Louis Vuitton

Takashi Murakami Louis Vuitton design

Think you don’t know Takashi Murakami, think again.  

His collaboration with fashion house Louis Vuitton for a range of handbags and wallets became some of the most counterfeited fashion products in the world – the best gauge of the public’s hunger for a product. If you’re a fan of Kanye West have another look at his album covers.  

With Murakami’s marriage of high and low art, commercialism and a Warhol ethos of factory production, he is often the target of critics that point to a cynical manipulation of low culture in his work.  

Takashi Murakami Hiropon

Takashi Murakami standing with his work Hiropon

The prices his work features speak for themselves though – in May 2008 “My Lonesome Cowboy” (1998), a sculpture of a masturbating boy, sold for $15.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction. His work is coveted across the globe and his grand exhibition at the MOCA gallery in LA last year reportedly sold $4 million worth of limited edition prints from the galleries boutique shop – situated in the main gallery itself – perhaps Murakami’s tongue in cheek reference to the dialogue on the commercial aspect of his work?  

Time magazine has rated him in their power 100 for the last 2 years – he is the only visual artist to feature on the list.  

Check out the video from the Japanorama series on Murakami: