Buzz art contributor and photographer Megan Derry visited The Broad for a preview of “Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow” and “This Is Not America’s Flag,” opening today at The Broad art museum.
After more than two years without a new show, The Broad art museum in downtown Los Angeles is presenting Takashi Murakami’s “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow” alongside “This is Not America’s Flag.”
These are two distinctly different but equally powerful shows that perfectly complement one another. And the viewer can easily glide between the adjoining rooms to experience these works as a running dialogue on culture and politics.
The 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster.
A global pandemic.
All of these forces collide with one another in Murakami’s expression of the current global state of dissonance and distorted reality.
Looking deeply into Murakami’s renderings, past the lovely bright colors and seemingly cheerful characters, one is confronted with glaring demons, a swirl of skulls and wizened Taoist hermits. He brilliantly combines classical Japanese drawing technique with anime and manga to achieve a deceptive commentary on the nature of man. These characters reflect a myriad of themes, ranging from traditional Japanese mythology to contemporary musings on violence, consumerism, technology and fantasia. It is not lost upon the audience though, that this artist has also managed to gain much capital by collaborating with luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton. Decide for yourself if he is commenting or colluding.
The 82 foot long title work of the exhibit is a literal showstopper. You could spend two hours in front of this single work and still only take in a fraction of its depth. Worth a repeat visit.
“This is Not America’s Flag” is a multi media dissertation on the numerous and varied ways that the American flag has been used, abused, conflated and wielded in both political and popular culture over nearly three centuries, both in this country and throughout the world.
More than 20 artists are represented in this show and include the expected – Jasper Johns, Jaar and David Hammons – as well as Laura Aguilar, Nicole Eisenman and several others.
The merchandising of “America” through use of the flag, shares gallery space with works that powerfully depict how native Americans and brown and black Americans, have been excluded from shelter or commerce and indeed have been abused, under this same banner.
As a note to the reader, these shows will be free to the public on Juneteenth and July 4th.
Both shows open today, Saturday, May 21. Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for students, Children 17 and under are free and provide access to two special exhibitions, “Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow” and “This Is Not America’s Flag,” and include same-day general admission to The Broad’s third floor galleries, which feature a frequently changing selection of works from the Broad collection.
Tickets do not include access to events that require separate reservations or Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013). To experience Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room, book separate “Infinity Mirrored Room + General Admission” tickets.