Interview Magazine – Takashi Murakami

August 10, 2010

In the latest issue of Interview Magazine, Alison Gingeras, chief curator of the Francois Pinault collation at Palazzo Grassi spoke with one of the most iconic contemporary artists of today, Takashi Murakami for an interview feature. For those who are aware of what the critics have been saying about the smiley Japanese artist who has been associated with coining the Superflat movement will know that some have deemed him the Japanese Andy Warhol. Sure, this is one way to understand Murakami, but Gingeras believes this is not quite a due comparison. And neither does Murakami. It is almost like a question of chicken and eggs– which came first? Though, in this sense, Murakami has a definite answer to the question– that Kaikai Kiki is nothing like the Warhol Factory (and as he joked, it’s because they have no drugs). Some may believe that Murakami is the Japanese representation of the Western pop movement, but in actual fact, Gingeras sees Murakami as one who makes indigenous Japanese side accessible to a non-Japanese audience.

In this interview, the duo chats about everything from Murakami’s dog, Pom, how Murakami is quite obsessed with being a breeder and approaches rearing Pom the same methodical way he approaches making art. Then, they talk about adding more faucets to Murakami’s already impressive portfolio of extensive franchises– opening up a bar in Los Angeles and perhaps, making water!

Check out the interview which discusses everything from raising dogs and lotus plants to the Otaku culture in Japan, the state of modern art (Murakami doesn’t really collect Chinese artists) and how his interest in politics is lackluster at best. Read the entire interview at Interview Magazine.

GINGERAS: Not a great vacation then.

MURAKAMI: No. But I am not fun. [both laugh] I always have stress. It’s not funny. So I was just there, watching this dog and waiting for the puppies.

GINGERAS: You didn’t go to this island with the idea of acquiring a puppy?

MURAKAMI: No. It was a boring time where I could just watch life go by . . . I could see that having an animal is nice. When I went back to Tokyo, the hotel manager e-mailed me: “The dog had babies. What do you think? Can you pick one up from here?” I immediately replied, “Yes, okay.” So I got these four puppies.


MURAKAMI: Yes. I told my studio staff and I anticipated everybody would say, “Yes! Thank you, Takashi!” But everybody went quiet. Silence. No reaction. I asked, “Why? Dogs are cute and funny.” Then one of my assistants said, “But, Takashi, who will take care of them?” And when I answered, “You and me,” they objected because I’m always traveling outside of Japan. [both laugh]

GINGERAS: I guess they were thinking they have too much work already with you!

MURAKAMI: Yes, they are already overwhelmed with fixing paintings and other things. They were saying, “Oh, my god!” It was a mistake in my judgment. So after we talked about it I decided just to take one dog and made plans to go to the hotel to pick it up. When I brought her back, I went to the veterinarian to get her checked out. The doctor said that she looked like a Japanese dog.

Read more of the Takashi Murakami interview on here.