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Takashi Murakami

The controversial Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is best known for his ability to blur the line between high and low arts. His sculptures, prints and other fine art creations are simultaneously tacky yet poised. In 2001, Murakami published  his “Superflat” theory in the catalogue for a group exhibition of the same name. The theory discusses the idea that there is a legacy of flat, 2-dimensional imagery which has existed throughout Japanese art history (such as wood-blocking) and continues today (in manga, hentai and anime). This style is wholly Eastern and emphasizes flat planes of color.  His pieces represent an amalgam and synthesizing of Buddhist accents, highly sexual Japanese fetish art, psychedelic sixties iconography, satirical exaggeration and childish linear drawings. The highly commercial artist has collaborated with such renown brands and celebrities as Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Kanye West, Pharrel Williams and in floats for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or as a game designer for Hasbro’s Monopoly.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

A painting by Takashi Murakami, a Guy de Rougemont cocktail table, and a pair of Leleu bergères in the living room; Manuel Canovas fabric curtains. 

Photography by William Waldron for Elle Decor. Serious and very fifth avenue, yet with a touch of humor. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

A New York City apartment by John Beckmann of Axis Mundi offers wham bam glam! Image via Desire to Inspire.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Statement pieces by artists Bert Stern, Takashi Murakami, and Alex Katz line this jewel box living room giving it punch and power. The color play, vertical stripes and expertly mismatched patterns continuously draw the eye to new places.

Sid Bergamin’s Brazilian retreat ala Robin De Groot Design and Architectural Digest. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Nigo’s Bedroom replete with Louis Vuitton bedsheets and Murakami Cushions on the floor. Eat your heart out pop culture, brand addicts. Image via The Ski Club. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Yours truly at the  Takashi Murakami at the Palace of Versailles exhibition in 2010. When in doubt; floral, happy-face wallpaper and carpeting does the trick. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

A funky brooklyn townhouse incorporates David Weeks lighting, contemporary prints (such as Murakami), a glossy white lacquered table, a Jason Miller Studio Antler Sconce and mid-century accents to create a bright and clean space. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

This lounge space is half underground club and half secret treehouse. Painted over pressed metal walls, lucite chandelier, and Murakami print keep the relaxation space feeling fresh. Image via GummyGoose.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

The Arne Vodder credenza, the 60’s Ecuador chair, the bright orange sofa, a cow skin rug, and the angular floor lamp have a midcentury, cowboy vibe, but the Takashi Murakami and the Kaws Sorayama figure on the Saarinen table make this room ultra modern. Image created by Pastolux using Ebay finds. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Miami-based interior design and architecture firm Errez Design‘s curated update of a 1910 cottage in Coconut Grove, FL, which belongs to a contemporary art collector. The client has an extensive collection of artwork, including pieces by Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Banksy, Swoon, and David Bowie, as well as rare antique Biedermeier furniture, antique textiles, and crystal chandeliers. Images via Casa Sugar.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Design by Vicente Wolf. A Takashi Murakami painting dominates one corner of the living room. African masks rest on a Chinese-elm cocktail table, an African stool serves as a side table, and a Louis XVI console stands by the window; all are from VW Home. The armchairs are covered in an Edelman leather. Park Avenue apartment via Architectural Digest.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

A space dominated by circular design: an oval print, an oblong sculpture, a rounded chair. Designed by D’Apostrophe, this Paris Mansion is friendly, organic and bright. Family room image via Houzz.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Who said contemporary art is only for grownups? Definitely not me.  This kid’s room is airy and rainbow filled – no unhappy campers allowed. Design by Designed by D’Apostrophe for a Bond Street, NYC triplex. Image via Houzz. As they say in Japan, “Kawaii”!

Takahashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

A sneak inside Cordelia de Castellane’s artful Parisian home reveals a master bedroom painted with Farrow & Ball’s Light Gray. The four poster bed is kingly, almost stately, yet childish with it’s Murakami pillows. Photography by Roger Davies for Elle Decor.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

A London home’s mantle provides a focal point for artwork and first-edition James Bond books. The painting above the fireplace is by Chen Ke, and sitting on the marble is also a hyper sexual nurse (or waitress?) sculpture by Murakami. Image via House to Home.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Dark navy exposed brick walls allow a white-bright Murakami piece to pop. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

The bed, very seventies, surrounded by works of art: from left to right, a painting by Robert Delaunay, a vase by Ettore Sottsass for the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres and a sculpture by Takashi Murakami. Image via Architectural Digest France.


We’ve Got the Blues

Yves Klein (28 April 1928 – 6 June 1962) was a French artist working in Post-World War II Europe. He is often pinned as the precursor to the Pop Art movement, as well as an influence on the world of Performance Art. Klein did not relegate paints to the canvas, nor arts to the world of 2d. Working with live women, Klein often covered bodies in blue paints. He thought of people as “human brushes” and “model forms”. Blue Women Art, also known as “Anthopometries“, is an expansive piece that includes a full orchestra, several women, Yves Klein Blue Signature Paint, and large canvases to “perform”. The women slowly drag their paint dripped bodies across surfaces – allowing form and movement to be transferred to the canvas.

Images from the Wikipedia Commons and the Yves Klein Archives, HERE.

Klein Blue Form in Blue Venus – Please also draw your attention to similarities in Henri Matisse’s Blue Nudes.

Klein explained that although both of his parents were also painters, his painting career began on a a beach at the age of 19 when, on the sand with friends, he looked upward and “signed the sky” as his first piece of art. Clearly this namesake blue-of-a-deep-sky color followed him throughout his lifetime.  He painted monochromes for several years in the 1940’s and early 1950’s however one seminal day in 1955 made him realize that Ultramarine and Lapis Lazul would be the pigment of his future. Hannah Weitemeier author of Yves Klein, 1928–1962: International Klein Blue explains“From the reactions of the audience, [Klein] realized that…viewers thought his various, uniformly colored canvases amounted to a new kind of bright, abstract interior decoration. Shocked at this misunderstanding, Klein knew a further and decisive step in the direction of monochrome art would have to be taken…From that time (technically 1958) onwards he would concentrate on one single, primary color alone: blue.”

As always, the art world recycles in wonderful ways: Here is the ultramarine pigment in the The Wilton Diptych, which can be seen in the National Gallery, London. The image was painted for Richard II (1367–1400) who is the crowned and kneeling figure on its left-hand panel. This color is often used to depict Madonnas (pictorial or sculptured representations of Mary, Mother of Jesus

TAKASHI MURAKAMI, Homage to Yves Klein , 20/10/2011 – 07/01/2012, Galerie Perrotin, 10, Impasse Saint Claude, Paris found HERE.

Clearly this color is still permeating the mind of artists and the realm of the arts. Photography by Elspeth Diederix / ultramarine / red chairs 2007, found HERE. 

Klein’s deep blue was so captured in the subconscious of people that it began to reappear in interior design, clothing (notably in suits), painting and all aspects of the cultural sector. The artist worked with chemists to capture the raw intensity of dry pigments in a color that does not appear naturally in ecosystems – save for the sky and a few bird’s feathers. This unique hue is now known in art circles, paint stores, and the color experts Pantone as International Klein Blue. Let us just, for one second, imagine being so influential that we have created an color whose legacy will be continually used after our death. Major.

The Blues: as a point of comparison.

Klein in your Bathroom! This also looks easy to clean, deifnite perk. Image via House to Home.
From Sight Unseen, HERE.
A quaint and rustic room featuring the serigraphHomage to Tennessee Williams by Yves Klein. Via, HERE.
From the home of the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi company. A table filled with IKB pixie dust, created by the artist. Found via Architectural Digest, HERE.
Baboo Apartment by Bernardes & Jacobsen, São Paulo, Brazil – art by Alexander Calder, Keith Herring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Yves Klein blue table…found HERE.
GO BOLD OR GO HOME. Found via Yolksy, HERE.
Screenshot from Sweet Paul Magazine Spring 2012 Issue – found HERE.
Those red lacquered bamboo legs! The glossy pink table! The medieval wall! The Foo Dog Lamps! I literally cannot stop using exclamation points. Found via Design Crisis, HERE.

Bravo, bold man! Interior designer (and assistant to the inimitable Miles Redd) Nick Olsen painted his living room a high-gloss enamel acid green (Benjamin Moore’s Oregano) and accessorized with pops of white, blue and chocolate brown. Photo by Paul Costello, Domino, November 2006. Found HERE. 

Not good at hanging paintings straight? No problem. Leave it on the floor as a mock back-spalsh. Via Riazzoli, HERE.

The Evitavonni Blue Chair is a piece of furniture that is so bold and brilliant it is sure to become the focal point of ANY room. Found at Chair Blog, HERE.


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Brand Loyalty

Luis Gispert is a Jersey born, Brooklyn-based artist who is enamored with the idea of authenticity and branding. Gispert‘s “Decepción”, was a show at the Mary Boone Gallery in Chelsea, NYC, that was hyper focused on a subculture devoted to making both cars and clothes into personal showrooms for designer-logo fabrics. Gispert became so obsessed with the logo-crazy niche that he has continued documenting this culture via photographs for the two years.

(Luis Gispert, Sprouse Gouse, 2011, C-print)

The New York Times article explaining the exhibition states, “The creators of these logomobiles are fashionistas aspiring to wealth and glamour they can own. One Escalade plunges passengers into a total Takashi Murakami “LV” environment. Another car’s interior is upholstered in the graffiti-scribbled, Day-Glo green patented by Stephen Sprouse. And another is screaming pink, with Coach “C” stirrups covering every surface surrounding its rosy leather seats.”[Read more]