Contemporary Art in the Metaverse: Takashi Murakami’s Poppy Journey

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New York (AFP) – Takashi Murakami is known for mixing pop art and Asian fine art, but for his latest exhibition in New York he is leaning towards the metaverse.

At the “An Arrow Through History” exhibit that opened this week at the Gagosian Gallery in Manhattan, Murakami bridges traditional fine art, Japanese pop art and buzzing NFTs – the tokens digital images that represent original works of art.

Murakami told AFP he fears younger generations are obsessed with screens and “don’t understand the history of contemporary art”.

“They can enjoy very little, but with the addition of augmented reality, perhaps young people will open their eyes more and then enter the contemporary art scene,” said the 60-year-old Japanese artist. years.

Lately, athletes, artists, celebrities, and tech stars have been peddling NFTs, which use the same blockchain technology as cryptocurrencies.

“When working on a creative production, I make no distinction between digital and analog,” Murakami said in a Gagosian statement.

“I always work in the context of contemporary art, and that context is whether I can be involved in events that manage to trigger a cognitive revolution.”

“Into the Metaverse”

Using Snapchat and an augmented reality filter, visitors can be immersed in the exhibit hall via their phone, standing among digital images of fish swimming among the physically real works of art.

Japanese culture originated in the Eurasian continent, and my concept was to reach beyond there into the metaverse, traversing art history with a single arrow,” Murakami said in the release.

The Metaverse is an immersive virtual reality accessible with augmented or virtual reality glasses, and is a concept that has grown in recent years.

Stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, Murakami told AFP that “I was watching reality in my house, so it was a very monumental moment”.

“For us it was getting super stressful every day, we couldn’t go out,” he said, but his kids could enjoy virtual reality.

“It meant I had to change my mind, to fit in with the next generation of my kids,” he said. “That’s my first response – the show.”

Murakami is also set to open a special exhibit at The Broad museum of contemporary art in Los Angeles, titled “Takashi Murakami: Walking on the Tail of a Rainbow,” which will include immersive environments and will run from May 21 to September 25.

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