Renowned artist Takashi Murakami has a portfolio that transcends a single genre of creativity. Working across fine art, fashion, animation, and more, the man known as the “Warhol of Japan” is recognized for his vibrant imagery and iconic characters, including the smiling flower and Mr. DOB. Now, Murakami’s genius has come to The Broad, a contemporary art museum in Los Angeles, in a show called Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow. It’s his first solo exhibition at the institution.
The show features 18 works spanning Murakami’s career, sourced from the Broad collection and beyond. There are sculptures, paintings, wallpaper, and immersive installations. Fans of the artist’s oeuvre will recognize his visual language and see how it grows and changes throughout the years—while managing to be one distinct voice.
Among the pieces in the exhibition is the massive painting titled In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow. Measuring 82 feet long, it’s “informed by 18th-century painters Soga Shohaku and Ito Jakuchu,” and it speaks to Murakami’s belief that we should inform our present by “reaching for new and alternative truths in picture making by imitating existing forms or styles.” This work, completed in 2014, employs motifs from Shohaku’s painting Gunsenzu, or Immortals (1764)—itself emulating an older work. Murakami has some of these same figures in his contemporary painting but ultimately makes it his own by way of Japanese cartooning.
Augmented reality supplements the exhibition. By using Instagram while visitors view the work (in his exhibition and the Broad at large), Murakami’s digital characters will appear in their view and mix reality with a digital world.
Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow is on view until September 25, 2022. Tickets are required to enter the show and are available on The Broad’s website.