Takashi Murakami, From Pop Culture Icon to Japanese Art Historian



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We often forget that behind the pop-culture icon status, Takashi Murakami is in fact a dedicated art historian. The artist draws most of his inspiration for Japanese traditions, and apparently, if he were to hold on to just one reference book in order to remain creatively stimulate it would be Lineage of Eccentrics which he considers to be his personal bible.

This book, published in 1970, is the work of Tsuji Nobuo, a renowned art historian and Murakami’s mentor of many years. These two men are so bound together, that they maintain a public correspondence, setting one another artistic challenges. This special relationship was solidified with a group exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 2017, and a co-authored book, also entitled Lineage of Eccentrics linking Murakami’s work to the pictorial tradition that Nobou specialises in. This exciting work extricates Murakami from pop culture and takes his work back to the very essence of Japanese art and its grand masters. This re-contextualisation is both enlightening and rich in detail.


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