September 9 – October 12, 2003 at Rockefeller Center
Reversed Double Helix–Murakami’s most ambitious U.S. solo show to date-featured new works including a large freestanding sculpture, two giant floating balloons, and a forest of mushroom seating. A 30-foot-tall Buddha-like figure with multiple arms and a pointed head presided over the scene at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. “Tongari-kun” (Japanese for “Mr. Pointy”) as he is known in Murakami’s universe of characters, was flanked by four smaller figures. Low-lying mushrooms, a familiar motif in Murakami’s artwork, surrounded the central sculpture and served as seating areas for visitors. Surveying this scene were two gigantic “eyeball” balloons, each 30 feet in diameter, floating 60 feet in the air above the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink. Murakami also designed the flags surrounding Rockefeller Center to complete the transformation.
Reversed Double Helix refers to the twisted spirals of DNA strands and plays upon Murakami’s universe of mutant cartoon characters, where wide-eyed mushrooms coexist with multi-armed giants, happy flowers, and elfin creatures. Characterized by bright acrylic patterns and flat unblemished surfaces, Murakami’s works are an inspired mix of tradition and modernity. With its formal sophistication and ever-gleeful cast of characters, Murakami’s art appeals on a purely visual level even as it references religion, subcultures, and art history.
Takashi Murakami was born in Tokyo in 1963 and received his BFA, MFA and PhD from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He has had recent solo shows at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2003); Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2002); Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2001); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2001); and Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris (2001).
In addition to his work as an artist, Takashi Murakami is a curator, entrepreneur, and a student of contemporary Japanese society. In 2000, Murakami curated an exhibition of Japanese art titled Superflat, which acknowledged a movement toward mass-produced entertainment and its effects on contemporary aesthetics. Murakami is also internationally recognized for his collaboration with designer Marc Jacobs to create handbags and other products for the Louis Vuitton fashion house.
Reversed Double Helix was organized by Public Art Fund and Tishman Speyer Properties, and presented by Target stores.
For more information on Takashi Murakami’s Reversed Double Helix please visit the Public Art Fund.