Working under an ingenious post-modern rubric, Japanese artist Murakami Takashi has found a way to sell his cartoons to the rough beast of corporate capitalism and have those financial transactions beheld as subversive, progressive endeavor. Greed is good, and just because your logos grace Louis Vuitton bags and the towering monument to capital accumulation Roppongi Hills doesn’t mean it’s not all about the art, man. (sound of cash register)
But if Murakami continues to dedicate his artistic career to helping the super rich get even richer, he should at least have the business sense to protect his brand cachet. LVMH and the Mori Family are the tops of their respective games: So why on earth, Mr. Murakami, are you illustrating record jackets for the lame acoustic band Yuzu?
Yuzu is one of those heart-warming, acoustic-guitar-plus-harmonica acts for music fans who lack the courage to like anything approaching youth subculture. They are the ’90s coffee-house version of The Goo Goo Dolls, doomed to future obscurity for being neither very good, nor sufficiently kitschy. Their mediocrity makes them difficult to hate and even harder to remember.
So, when Yuzu puts together a two-disc Greatest Hits collection (Going and Home), how can Murakami Takashi refuse to take the job? I mean, how totally lame would it be to make art without getting money from giant corporations? If you’ve amassed a huge pool of art-school slave labor, why not use it at every possible opportunity?