Japanese culture originally came from the Eurasian continent, and my concept has been to go beyond from there into the metaverse, shooting through the history of art with a single arrow.
Gagosian is pleased to present An Arrow through History, an exhibition of new works by Takashi Murakami, opening on May 11, 2022. In three simultaneous presentations spanning two of Gagosian’s New York galleries, at 976 and 980 Madison Avenue, Murakami bridges the physical and digital realms. An Arrow through History incorporates Gagosian’s first use of virtual reality, featuring a digital rendering of the 976 and 980 Madison Avenue galleries. The immersive viewing experience, created by RTFKT and Oncyber, is accessible online via gagosian.com or through a VR headset and allows access to the entire exhibition from anywhere in the world. In addition, visitors on-site can activate numerous custom Snapchat Lenses to view augmented-reality animations in each gallery and on the building’s exterior. This will be Murakami’s first exhibition at Gagosian in New York since 2014 and represents his return to 980 Madison Avenue, where he had his inaugural exhibition with the gallery in 2007.
Murakami’s presentation at 976 Madison Avenue consists of works based on the Clone X NFT initiative (2021), which he developed in collaboration with RTFKT Studios. Clone X is a series of NFT avatars conceived as three-dimensional figures bearing the artist’s distinctive motifs. The works at Gagosian translate the digitally modeled NFTs into meticulously detailed, hand-painted portraits and full-scale figurative sculptures—physical manifestations of art created for the metaverse. As Murakami explains: “When I work on a creative production, I make no distinction between digital and analog. I’m always working in the context of contemporary art, and that context is all about whether I can be involved in events that manage to trigger a cognitive revolution.”
The fifth floor of 980 Madison Avenue is devoted to paintings related to the Murakami.Flowers NFT project (2021–22), including pink-and-white works based on his initial designs for the series, along with others that translate selections from their final, multihued iterations into paintings. The artist’s newest interpretation of his iconic flower motif, Murakami.Flowers combines his influential Superflat aesthetic with a style that evokes nostalgia for the pixelated graphics of 1980s video games, especially those played on the Nintendo Famicon console. This body of work was conceived in multiple permutations with a base of 108 flowers, corresponding with the number associated with the Buddhist principle of bonnō, or earthly temptations.
The sixth floor of 980 Madison Avenue is dedicated to new paintings inspired by the fish motif depicted on a Qinghua blue-and-white porcelain vase—a masterpiece from China’s Yuan dynasty (c. 1279–1368)—from the Museum of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka, Japan, and by Murakami’s childhood memories of riverside journeys with his father, during which he observed anglers fishing for carp. To make these works on circular canvases, he translated the single brushstrokes used to decorate ceramics into subtly colored, multilayered paintings of the fish, an auspicious symbol of abundance that also establishes a link to the past.
An Arrow through History will open in New York just ahead of a special exhibition dedicated to Murakami at the Broad in Los Angeles. Featuring all of the museum’s Murakami works and new immersive environments, Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow will be on view from May 21 through September 25, 2022.
Gagosian is also pleased to announce that the gallery now accepts cryptocurrency. Through a partnership with Coinbase, payments will be accepted in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and USD Coin (USDC).
Takashi Murakami and RTFKT: An Arrow through History
Bridging the digital and the physical realms, the three-part presentation of paintings and sculptures that make up Takashi Murakami: An Arrow through History at Gagosian, New York, builds on the ongoing collaboration between the artist and RTFKT Studios. Here, Murakami and the RTFKT team explain the collaborative process, the necessity of cognitive revolution, the metaverse, and the future of art to the Quarterly’s Wyatt Allgeier.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2022
The Summer 2022 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, with two different covers—featuring Takashi Murakami’s 108 Bonnō MURAKAMI.FLOWERS (2022) and Andreas Gursky’s V & R II (2022).
Murakami on Ceramics
Takashi Murakami writes about his commitment to the work of Japanese ceramic artists associated with the seikatsu kōgei, or lifestyle crafts, movement.
Takashi Murakami and Hans Ulrich Obrist
Hans Ulrich Obrist interviews the artist on the occasion of his 2012 exhibition Takashi Murakami: Flowers & Skulls at Gagosian, Hong Kong.
Takashi Murakami at LACMA
In a conversation recorded at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Takashi Murakami describes the process behind three major large-scale paintings, including Qinghua (2019), inspired by the motifs painted on a Chinese Yuan Dynasty porcelain vase.
Join us for an exclusive look at the installation and opening reception of Murakami & Abloh: “AMERICA TOO”.