The Contemporary Controversialists – Takahashi Murakami and Andy Warhol
Exposing the endless mechanical reproduction of images and signs; revealing the empty decadence behind visual glamour. The two artists, Takahashi Murakami and Andy Warhol, stand as influential figures in the contemporary art scene. Yet it is not without debate when the public first received their works. What doesn’t trigger debate is not an interesting issue to explore with. Therefore, this special post will be dedicated to how these artists influenced culture and we can also insert the context of Hong Kong’s art scenes as a comparison
Murakami, stating in his latest book – “Art in Battle” , reveals that while his works are highly popular and lucrative among the international art scene, the art community in Japan shows reluctance in accepting his success. They see him as a businessman using art for money – an artist, in their eyes, should live a poor man’s live.
Andy Warhol, similar to Murakami, flaunts his talents not only in art but also using art as a cultural irony. Echoing the mechanical reproduction of images, he shows how that an image, which he tries to detach from emotions or meanings by reproducing infinite amounts of copies, can inflate in value – the originality is not concerned as crucial any more. He devotes a great amount of his time among the business of art – making art indeed a commodity to be sold.
Murakami, as discussed before, pushes this to a further extent – after the glamourous illusion Andy Warhol imposed on contemporary art, he pushes it to a decadent and hysterical extent. The tragedy of society is that desire keeps on growing without a halt – an exhausting yet addictive drive towards desire.
They are not shy to use their own images, putting themselves into the artworks themselves. By placing their image in the same dimension as their art, they seem to blur the line between what we call reality and illusion. By diminishing the difference between virtual existence and real existence, they suggest that everything can be glamourous and everything can be art – in a radical reverse, nothing is art and the status between art and rubbish can be inverted. No wonder their art and theories are highly debated and controversial.
a banal good can be promoted as an expensive art too
Marilyn Monroe might be the wanted all-time-favourite film star – yet in Warhol’s art, detaching meanings and emotions results he being juxtaposed as having the same status as a campbell can soup!