Legendary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami presents a wonderfully weird exhibition at SF’s Asian Art Museum starting September 15, 2023.
Takashi Murakami: Unfamiliar People — Swelling of Monsterized Human Ego is a collection of over 75 of the artist’s famous and lovable monster artworks, including a dozen which have never been exhibited. In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum will host some epic cosplay activities and monster parties that you definitely don’t want to miss.
“You might never see these paintings again,” says Jay Xu, the Barbara Bass Bakar Director and CEO of the Asian Art Museum. “…the short window we have to experience these artworks echoes the fleetingness of our time on Earth when we are able to make a positive impact on those around us.”
Murakami asserts that his interest in monsters began after seeing Goya’s famously horrifying painting Saturn Devouring His Son when he was 8 years old. For decades he has created a huge spectrum of simultaneously grotesque, playful, cute, and scary monsters in a variety of mediums, often inspired by both old and new artistic styles including anime and manga.
At this Asian Art Museum exhibition, Murakami’s monsters are used to examine human behavior in the context of an infinite digital future. Featured works include distorted figures with swelling egos in reference to social media, as well as more optimistic painted versions of his NFTs, like his famous happy flowers.
Guests will also have a chance to see Murakami’s older works from the late ’90s and early ’00s. The glossy, colorful creations are carefully curated to present the evolution of Murakami’s study of monsters over time.
The museum’s adjacent programming is just as lively and engaging as the exhibition itself. To celebrate the exhibition opening, guests can attend a Gala and After Party on September 13 and a ticketed Opening Party on September 21. Put on your wackiest monsterized outfit and enjoy food, drinks, and dancing.
Guests can also attend the weekly Cosplay nights on Thursday evenings for a chance to truly immerse themselves in the art — details TBA.
Takashi Murakami: Unfamiliar People — Swelling of Monsterized Human Ego will be open at the Asian Art Museum from September 15, 2023 to February 12, 2024.