Japanese artist, born in Tokyo. He studied traditional Japanese painting and he now lives and works in New York and in Japan. He has developed a distinctively Japanese version of Pop art which he calls ‘Superflat’, based on otaku culture. (This is the contemptuous Japanese equivalent for the ‘geek’ who stays at home obsessed with manga comic books.) This is a controversial strategy in Japan, where the phenomenon is associated with anti-social behaviour, but Murakami has achieved, as he intended, a high degree of success in the West. His art is based on the invention of a range of characters: the best known is Mr DOB. He makes large-scale sculptures and paintings for collectors but also markets his ideas through inexpensive products like mouse pads and key rings. Somewhere between is his work with the upmarket fashion brand Louis Vuitton. Like Warhol, Murakami has his own factory, in the suburbs of Tokyo, which employs artists as well as dealing with production, but, very unlike Warhol‘s establishment, this is a genuinely industrialized affair.
M. Darling, ‘Plumbing the Depths of Superflatness’, Art Journal, vol. 60, issue 3 (2001)