This past weekend, Juxtapoz and Takashi Murakami opened the very special Juxtapoz x Superflat exhibition at Vancouver Art Gallery with a mixture of talks, lectures, tours, and special guests. The exhibition was curated by Juxtapoz editor, Evan Pricco and Takashi Murakami, expanding upon Takashi's original Superflat theory and exhibition, and expanding it to include the influence and artists who have been in the pages of Juxtapoz for the last 22 years.
One of the major themes of the week's opening schedule was addressing that this particular iteration of Juxtapoz x Superflat was both the magazine's and Murakami's intention to create a living, breathing, living exhibition of contemporary art. Under the direction of Vancouver Art Gallery's Bruce Grenville, the museum's space allowed for unique pairings of work, often disparate in mediums but completely connected in historical precedence and contemporary language. What may appear to be separate art worlds by placing a He Xiangyu sculpture of Ai Weiwei next to ceramics by Yuji Ueda, illustrations by Kim Jung Gi, and works by street artist pioneer Swoon and comic-like Rebecca Morgan ceramics and drawings and larger-than-life superhero work by Houston's Trenton Doyle Hancock captures a real essence of the way we look at art in 2016; that balance of high and low cultures, that museum versus gallery versus social media culture has all sort of existed on the same plane for quite some time now, perhaps even more so than the first tour of Superflat. And these ideas that they can co-exist in the same institution, without boundaries, creates an honest interpretation of contemporary art.
Another room that captures this idea featured the works of Austin Lee, Paco Pomet, Friedrich Kunath and Nina Chanel Abney. In particular, in the center of the room, lies Kunath's bronze snail sculpture with a plastic toy dollhouse attached to its back. This idea of a sturdy, blue-chip bronze edifice with a playful, easily disposable toy on its back captures the entire identity of Juxtapoz x Superflat; culture-clashing, genre-stripping, high brow and low brow all in one piece.
Juxtapoz x Superflat includes work by Nina Chanel Abney, Chiho Aoshima, Urs Fischer, GATS, Kim Jung Gi, Kazunori Hamana, Trenton Doyle Hancock, John Hathway, Todd James, James Jean, Friedrich Kunath, Austin Lee, Madsaki, Geoff McFetridge, Christian Rex van Minnen, Rebecca Morgan, Takashi Murakami, Kazumi Nakamura, Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor, Otani Workshop, Paco Pomet, Parra, Erin M. Riley, Mark Ryden, David Shrigley, Lucy Sparrow, Devin Troy Strother, Swoon, Katsuya Terada, Toilet Paper Magazine, Yuji Ueda, Yuji Ueno, Sage Vaughn, Ben Venom, He Xiangyu and Zoer & Velvet.
Organized by Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd, and co-curated by Takashi Murakami and Evan Pricco.
All photography by Ian C Bates. Film by Matthew Williams, shot in Seattle this past August.