Art Industry News: Takashi Murakami Says Japanese People Who Don’t Like Him Are Just Jealous + Other Stories

Plus, students protest tuition hikes at CalArts and the New York Public Library launches a gallery to showcase its massive collection.

Takashi Murakami. Portrait of the artist, 2018. ©2018 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know this Thursday, March 14.


Why Museums Love AR – Museums are going all in on augmented-reality technology. Thanks to the high-tech tool, visitors to the Morgan Library in New York can now “see” a hidden staircase and “meet” J. Pierpont Morgan’s first librarian. Museums are also using the technology to give life to everything from Old Masters to Vikings, while Marina Abramović is experimenting with AR to bring audiences face to face with her likeness at the Serpentine Galleries in London. (New York Times)

Meet the Curator of the US Pavilion in Venice – Brooke Kamin Rapaport is juggling her day job as deputy director and senior curator of the Madison Square Park Conservancy in New York with her new role as commissioner of the United States Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Martin Puryear, the chosen artist, has used Big Bling, which she helped commission for New York, as a springboard for Venice, where he will install a monumental new installation in front of the pavilion. She sees her role in Venice as emblematic of a paradigm shift. “Public art was considered second- and third-generation modernism,” she said. “The field of public art is at a time right now when the most distinguished artists working today want to bring their work outdoors.” (NYT)

Why Don’t Japanese People Like Murakami? – Despite Takashi Murakami’s global success, love and respect continues to elude him in his home country. “The reaction is often simply, ‘Oh, him! The one who does those kawaii [cute] flowers,'” notes writer Andrew Lee. The artist believes the rejection stems from jealousy of his success abroad—and has even incorporated this conviction into his work. His alter ego, Mr. DOB, has evolved from a cute character to a multi-headed beast to symbolize the dangers of envy. “I believe my character Mr. DOB underwent such a transformation because just as my reputation as an artist had begun to rise in the West, I was increasingly hated in Japan, and I was distressed by this chasm,” Murakami said. “Jealousy can genuinely engulf the true nature of a being, creating a frightening phenomena.” (Japan Times)

CalArts Students Protest Rising Tuition – Students from the California Institute of the Arts—the storied LA art school that boasts David Salle, Carrie Mae Weems, and Catherine Opie as alumni—protested outside of Hauser & Wirth in Los Angeles on Tuesday, where the university’s board of trustees voted to raise tuition fees by 4.5 percent, to $50,850 per year. (The gallery’s co-founder Iwan Wirth is on the school’s board.) Demonstrators held up signs reading “you are nothing without us” and “don’t profit off our backs.” Some fear that the escalating tuition could threaten the school’s diversity. (Hyperallergic)


Liste Releases Exhibitor List – The Basel fair for young galleries has announced its lineup for the 2019 edition, which includes 21 new additions from locations as far-flung as Iran, Tbilisi, and Arkansas. In total, 73 galleries have been selected, 11 of which will get a discount on their booths courtesy of the Friends of Liste because of their “exceptionally engaging” presentations. (Press release)

Collection of Fugitive Billionaire to Be Sold – Art belonging to India’s most-wanted man, the fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, will be sold by the country’s tax authorities at Indian auctioneer Saffronart on March 26. The 68 paintings, including works by Indian masters Raja Ravi Varma and V.S. Gaitonde, have an estimated value of $5 million. (Telegraph)

Kohn Gallery Now Represents Maria Berrio – The Colombian artist known for her collaged paintings is now represented by Los Angeles-based Kohn Gallery. She will have her first solo show and make her LA debut at the gallery in June. (Press release)


New York Public Library Launches a New Gallery – The New York Public Library has a jaw-dropping 46 million items in its collection, including rarities such as Charles Dickens’s own copy of A Christmas Carol and a draft of the Bill of Rights. It’s putting some of this precious trove on view next year in a new gallery in its main building in Manhattan. The library’s president Anthony W. Marx hopes the show will inspire people to do more primary research: “At a time when the very notion of fact is in dispute, we store the records that have all the facts.” (NYT)

Leonor Antunes to Rep Portugal in Venice – The Berlin-based Portuguese artist, whose sculptures often reference the history of Modernism, will represent Portugal at the Venice Biennale in May. The former director of the Serralves Museum in Porto, João Ribas, will curate the presentation, titled “Leonor Antunes: a seam, a surface, a hinge, or a knot.” (ARTnews)

CEO of the Terra Foundation Steps Down – After 18 years as president and CEO of the foundation for American art, Elizabeth Glassman has announced she will be stepping down. During her tenure, the Terra closed its museums in Chicago and Giverny and focused instead on circulating its collections globally and funding scholarship of American art around the world. She will remain in the role while an international search is conducted for her replacement, likely until early 2020. (Press release)


CERN Develops Method to Authenticate Art – Space radiation technology is being used by a Czech company called InsightART to detect fake art. As it turns out, the technique developed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research to track particles at the Large Hadron Collider can also take specialized X-ray images of art that show where certain pigments were applied, which will prove useful to authenticators. (Space)

Remembering the Archeologist Who Died in Ethiopian Airlines Crash – One of the 157 victims who died in the plane crash was the 66-year-old Italian marine archeologist Sebastiano Tusa, who was traveling to Kenya to speak about protecting underwater cultural heritage at a UNESCO conference. The organization’s director-general, Audrey Azoulay, said that Tusa “put his heart and soul into safeguarding traces of our history found under the seas.” The archeologist’s wife and the director of Palazzo Riso museum of contemporary art in Sicily, Valeria Patrizia Li Vigni, told Italian press that her husband “had a profound sense of duty, he believed that archaeology was a message of peace, the cement between peoples and their histories.” (TAN)

See Anish Kapoor’s Mirrored Works at Pitzhanger Manor – Kapoor’s latest exhibition in London features mirrors and reflective sculptures, some of which were inspired by the author of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll. The show opens on Saturday in a newly reopened Pitzhanger Manor. Let’s just hope no one falls down the rabbit hole like one unwitting visitor to his exhibition at the Serralves Museum in Porto last year. (Time Out)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.