Takashi Murakami: ‘In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow’

By Karen Rosenberg
Takashi Murakami’s “Isle of the Dead” (2014), at Gagosian, reflects on the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Credit 2014 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd; Robert McKeever, Gagosian Gallery
NEW YORK---In his exhibition at Gagosian, Takashi Murakami appears unintimidated by big historical and religious subjects but strangely cowed by his fellow artists. Working in response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011 in the Tohoku region of Japan, he has come up with a quasi-spiritual installation of paintings and sculptures surrounding a copy of the gates of a Buddhist temple. In an 82-foot mural inspired by the scrolls of the 19th-century Buddhist painter Kano Kazunobu, Mr. Murakami tosses manga-like figures into a stylized seascape and piles on a dazzling assortment of mosaic and marble effects. [link]