Category Archives: 1960’s

Takashi Murakami

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The controversial Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is best known for his ability to bur the line between high and low arts. His sculptures, prints and other fine art creations are simultaneously tacky yet poised. In 200-, Murakami published  his “Superflat” theory in the catalogue for a group exhibition of the same name. The theory discusses the idea that there is a legacy of flat, 2-dimensional imagery which has existed throughout Japanese art history (such as wood-blocking) and continues today ( in manga, hentai and anime). This style is wholly Eastern and emphasizes flat planes of color.  His pieces represent an amalgam and synthesizing of Buddhist accents, highly sexual Japanese fetish art, psychedelic sixties iconography, satirical exaggeration and childish linear drawings. The highly commercial artist has collaborated with such renown brands and celebrities as Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Kanye West, Pharrel Williams and in floats for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or as a game designer for Hasbro’s Monopoly.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

A painting by Takashi Murakami, a Guy de Rougemont cocktail table, and a pair of Leleu bergères in the living room; the curtains are of a Manuel Canovas fabric. Photography by William Waldron for Elle Decor. Serious and very fifth avenue, yet with a touch of humor. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

A New York City apartment by John Beckmann of Axis Mundi offers wham bam glam! Image via Desire to Inspire.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Statement pieces by artists Bert Stern, Takashi Murakami, and Alex Katz line the jewel box living room giving it punch and power. The color play, vertical stripes and expertly mismatched patterns continuously draw the eye to new places. Sid Bergamin’s Brazilian retreat ala Robin De Groot Design and Architectural Digest. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Nigo’s Bedroom replete with Louis Vuitton bedsheets and Murakami Cushions on the floor. Eat your heart out pop culture, brand addicts. Image via The Ski Club. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Yours truly at the  Takashi Murakami at the Palace of Versailles exhibition in 2010. When in doubt; floral, happy-face wallpaper and carpeting does the trick. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

A funky brooklyn townhouse incorporates David Weeks lighting, contemporary prints (such as Murakami), a glossy white lacquered table, a Jason Miller Studio Antler Sconce and mid-century accents to create a bright and clean space. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

This lounge space is half underground club and half secret treehouse. Painted over pressed metal walls, lucite chandelier, and Murakami print keep the relaxation space feeling fresh. Image via GummyGoose.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

The Arne Vodder credenza, the 60’s Ecuador chair, the bright orange sofa, a cow skin rug, and the angular floor lamp have a midcentury, cowboy vibe, but the Takashi Murakami and the Kaws Sorayama figure on the Saarinen table make this room ultra modern. Image created by Pastolux using Ebay finds. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Miami-based interior design and architecture firm Errez Design‘s curated update of a 1910 cottage in Coconut Grove, FL, which belongs to a contemporary art collector. The client has an extensive collection of artwork, including pieces by Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Banksy, Swoon, and David Bowie, as well as rare antique Biedermeier furniture, antique textiles, and crystal chandeliers. Images via Casa Sugar.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Design by Vicente Wolf. A Takashi Murakami painting dominates one corner of the living room. African masks rest on a Chinese-elm cocktail table, an African stool serves as a side table, and a Louis XVI console stands by the window; all are from VW Home. The armchairs are covered in an Edelman leather. Park Avenue apartment via Architectural Digest.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

A space dominated by circular design: an oval print, an oblong sculpture, a rounded chair. Designed by D’Apostrophe, this Paris Mansion is friendly, organic and bright. Family room image via Houzz.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Who said contemporary art is only for grownups? Definitely not me.  This kid’s room is airy and rainbow filled – no unhappy campers allowed. Design by Designed by D’Apostrophe for a Bond Street, NYC triplex. Image via Houzz. As they say in Japan, “Kawaii”!

Takahashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

A sneak inside Cordelia de Castellane’s artful Parisian home reveals a master bedroom painted with Farrow & Ball’s Light Gray. The four poster bed is kingly, almost stately, yet childish with it’s Murakami pillows. Photography by Roger Davies for Elle Decor.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

A London home’s mantle provides a focal point for artwork and first-edition James Bond books. The painting above the fireplace is by Chen Ke, and sitting on the marble is also a hyper sexual nurse (or waitress?) sculpture by Murakami. Image via House to Home.

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

Dark navy exposed brick walls allow a white-bright Murakami piece to pop. 

Takashi Murakami Room / The Walkup

The bed, very seventies, surrounded by works of art: from left to right, a painting by Robert Delaunay, a vase by Ettore Sottsass for the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres and a sculpture by Takashi Murakami. Image via Architectural Digest France.

Ben-Day Dots – An Artist’s Dwelling (9)

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The Ben-Day dots printing process, named after illustrator and printer Benjamin Henry Day, Jr. and is similar to Pointillism (Think of  Georges Seurat‘s The Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and how it changes from an amalgam of tiny dots to a fully shaded image based on one’s proximity to the canvas). Depending on the effect, color and optical illusion needed, small colored dots are closely spaced, widely spaced or overlapping to create the illusion of shadow, color, and dimension. These dots differ from the printing process in newspapers (ever notice those little dots on the edges of a page) – those are halftone dots or dot gain – and differ from the Ben-Day dot in that they come in many sizes, circumferences, spacing and diameters. Ben-Day dots are able to express an image while all dots on the page remain the same size.  Most people are familiar with Ben-day dots without even realizing. Why? The simple answer is Western-style comic books from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Puma 917 – Popart Pack – Roy Lichtenstein

Hi! I am a Ben-Day dot, all the circles above are the same size!

Hi! I am a Halftone dot, I help to create images with dots of different sizes. 

Pulp comic books used benday dots in primary colors to inexpensively create the secondary colors such as flesh tone. The dotting technique was also an inexpensive way for artists and printers to create shading and depth. Ben-Day dots were considered the hallmark of American pop-artist Roy Lichtenstein, who enlarged and exaggerated them in many of his paintings and sculptures. In addition to appropriating comic books’ melodramatic content, Lichtenstein manually simulated the Benday dots used in the mechanical reproduction of images. One is not supposed to actually “see the dots” in images however, in Lichtenstein’s paintings the dots are over-sized and a central tenant. In this way, the painter is taking something robotic and manual (and hidden) and forcing to be the organic, man-made focus of the canvas.

 Roy Lichtenstein, Drowning Girl, 1963

The artist himself explains, “I was interested in the fact that the cartoon faces and so forth were so unreal and that we took them, generally for realistic. If you go through the magazine, the girl looked pretty in the picture, you know. Then when you really look at what you’ve got—black lines and red lips—that there isn’t anything in this picture that’s real. I was interested in say, the style of, say, a pretty girl in a comic book, or a hero, whatever it was manufactured out of a kind of idealism as to what people should look like, modified by economies of the printing process.”  There is also a dark-humor inherent in Lichtenstein’s ability to make-fun of a character’s death, or the dramatic narrative of a comic book, by oversimplifying it in large format.

ROY LICHTENSTEIN’S STUDIO, AS PHOTOGRAPHED BY HORST; TAKEN FROM ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST’S “CELEBRITY HOMES II”, 1981.

Comic books and printing techniques are often very focused on properly recreating a human character by using mechanical means. However, I am more interested in how these “dots” can recreate the oeuvre and warmth of a living space. In Interior Series by Roy Lichtenstein the idea of a “home” is explored and mocked. The prints of the Interior Series are banal domestic environments inspired by furniture ads he found in telephone books. The Interiors are based on advertisements, most of which Lichtenstein cut from the Yellow Pages – further challenging the idea of and blurring the lines between “low art, commercial art, and high art”.

 

Photographer Laurie Lambrecht worked as a part-time assistant to Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein from 1990 to 1992, helping him to inventory his studio in preparation for his 1993 retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan.

The Interiors, one of the artist’s major final series, portray colorful magazine spreads of rooms for purchase. With the artist’s usual dry wit, they depict domestic spaces, occasionally occupied by Nudes from his other late series. his body of colorful paintings and prints reflects the excess of the 1980s. I was lucky enough to view one of these LARGE format paintings in person at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and let me tell you they are massive, mural sized pieces. They are almost the size of the room they are trying to portray and give the effect of actually being in a real room (which is incredible seeing as though they are all on a 2d plane). They hit you in the face like Whaam!

La Sortie by Roy Lichtenstein. Image found HERE.

Image found HERE. 

Roy Lichtenstein’s Interior with Skyline. I spy a Saarinen design.

Wallpaper with blue floor interior by Roy Lichtenstein. Image found HERE.

Modern Room by Roy Lichteinstein. Image found HERE. I spy mid-century modern and an homage to Warhol.

The Den by Roy Lichtenstein. Image found HERE.

Image from Roy Lichtenstein: Interiors, by  Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Fitzpatrick, Dorothy Lichtenstein printed by Hudson Hills, 1999., pg. 58

The Living Room by Roy Lichteinstein. Image found HERE.

Roy Lichtenstein – Interior with Red Wall – lot 47 – $7,026,500, est. $8 to 12 million via ArtNet. Roy Lichtenstein’s 10 foot tall Interior with Red Wall (1991), as seen above, sold to a telephone bidder for $6.2 million ($7,026,500 with fees) against a pre-sale estimate of $8 million-$10 million. I spy lots of Knoll inspired design items. Zap! Bang! Whoosh!

So how can you live in this mechanically produced Ben-Day dot world of excess, consumerism, pop and color? Have no fear! Zing! Swoosh! Zap! Hint: stick to CMKY or RGB tones, meaning Yellows, Reds, Green, Blue, and other primaries. Look here:

 

Shop by the Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11a / 11b / 12

Silver Screen Scenes (4)

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Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley is set in the late 1950’s. Highsmith was a Texas-bred, American novelist who is known mainly for her psychological crime thrillers which have led to more than two dozen film adaptations. The movie’s plot revolves around a New Yorker, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever who was a lavatory assistant, is sent to Europe to retrieve a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy, named Dickie Greenleaf. When Mr. Ripley’s errand fails, he takes extreme, bizarre, and unique measures to make the jet set lifestyle’s privileges his own. The strange, eerie and atmospheric cinematography, set design, and costumes fit the story beautifully.

The movie was mainly filmed in Italy with landmarks in the cities of Rome and Venice used as a backdrop for the narrative. Released in 1999, one of its initial reviews  by Andrew Sarris for The New York Observer writes, “On balance, The Talented Mr. Ripley is worth seeing more for its undeniably delightful journey than its final destination. Perhaps wall-to-wall amorality and triumphant evil leave too sour an aftertaste even for the most sophisticated anti-Hollywood palate”. Most critics, and more importantly, audiences agree that this film is an intelligent and suspenseful exploration of artistry, scenery, and ethics.

The backdrops and filming locations are described as “lusciously seductive”. Using a patchwork of European locales, the film recreates an Europe of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Mr. Ripley leaves from New York City to arrive in an Art Deco Palermo and then off to the the fictional Italian resort town of ‘Mongibello’. The director interprets this as the actual Ischia Ponte, Ischia, Italy.  Most of the street scenes are filmed in the closely San Rocco, Corricella, Procida, Italy. For complete information on the meticulously crafted locales, go HERE.

Image found HERE.

Image found HERE.

Image found HERE.

Image found HERE.

At one point, Mr. Greenleaf stays at the ACTUAL St. Regis in Rome. European, Renaissance opulence at its finest.

Image found HERE.

The Bottega Veneta Suites at St. Regis designed by Tomas Maier, found HERE.

St. Regis Rome Designer Suite’s Living Room. Situated in Rome, the capital city of Italy and of the Lazio region.

Designer Suite Entrance to the St. Regis Rome, Detail, image found HERE. 

One can recreate the lifestyle by surrounding oneself with plush fabrics, italian busts, marble countertops, art deco accents, colorful facades, gilded mirrors, woven persian rugs,  atelier urns, ornate chandeliers, wicker cafe tables, European mannerist paintings from the 16th century. The key is lavish, exuberant, and ostentatious details! This bric-a-brac of items can be found throughout several scenes in the film, with a particular focus on mirrors (as an esoteric and philosophical challenge to Mr. Ripley…who is he?).  Believe it or not, comfort isn’t exactly what these spendthrifts are about.

Shop by the Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 (frame) / 11 (art)

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