Girls, girls, girls

By GREG COOK  |  November 6, 2007

The end of the gallery is devoted to several works by Yayoi Kusama, who gained notice with flashy poppy paintings, installations, and performances in New York in the 1960s and here seems a transitional figure. Shoes (green) (1997) is a pair of glittery green strappy ladies’ shoes sprouting blobs that resemble sweet potatoes or worms. It’s like a dream from the Wizard of Oz’s Emerald City.

Takashi Murakami, one of the paramount figures in Japanese art today, is represented by a flat, cartoony 2002 painting of fanged space stations floating atop a blue-and-cream camouflage pattern and a brown 2003 purse spotted with pink cartoon flowers. Murakami has been a ringleader for a group of youngish artists working in a cute style called kawaii in Japan. A dreamy diaristic 2003 Aya Takano painting depicts a big-eyed, big-lipped girl standing under a crescent moon in a sheer nightgown, her long hair curling in the wind. Chinatsu Ban’s 2005 sculpture Fish Eyes — Sixth of Ten Brothers is a cartoony baby-faced elephant that leaves a pile of cartoony poop. It’s irresistibly cute.

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