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Travel Tip: Art and Archaeology in United States
Takashi Murakami at Rockefeller Center: Reversed Double Helix

Takashi Murakami at Rockefeller Center: Reversed Double Helix
NEW YORK  •  Rockefeller Center  •  Ongoing
New York City's most famous plaza has been transformed into a fantastical pop cityscape. Takashi Murakami at Rockefeller Center: Reversed Double Helix, a major outdoor art exhibition organized by the Public Art Fund on behalf of Tishman Speyer Properties and presented by Target Stores.

This all-encompassing installation-Murakami's most ambitious U.S. solo show to date features all new work including a large freestanding sculpture, two giant floating balloons, and a forest of mushroom seating. Tongari-kun (Japanese for "Mr. Pointy") as he is known in Murakami's universe of characters, is flanked by four smaller figures. Low-lying mushrooms, a familiar motif in Murakami's artwork, surround the central sculpture and serve as seating areas for visitors. Surveying this scene are 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 in order to complete the aesthetic transformation.

Takashi Murakami: Reversed Double Helix
Takashi Murakami: Reversed Double Helix

The exhibition subtitle, 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 horizontality, bright acrylic patterns and flat unblemished surfaces, Murakami's works are an inspired mix of tradition and modernity, as Japanese Nihon-ga paintings of the 19th century meld with pop culture influences like Andy Warhol's Factory and Walt Disney animation. 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.

Murakami is also internationally recognized for his recent collaboration with designer Marc Jacobs to create handbags and other products for the Louis Vuitton fashion house. Takashi Murakami's highly publicized $2 million art installation at Rockefeller Center is on view for only one month. The 30-foot-tall, polychromed plastic, 20-armed Buddha-like sculpture, Mr. Pointy, has been acquired by France's Francois Pinault, the owner of FNAC, Christies and assorted luxury goods concerns. Pinault bought the installation during his visit to the Venice Biennale in June.


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