Lost In Translation


I guess if Kaikai Kiki had wanted the name of its biannual Toyko otaku art fair, Geisai, spelled properly, they should’ve upgraded Walter Robinson’s seat for him. Instead, as he wrote, he had to use his own frequent flier miles to get out of coach [which is the only sensible thing to do, of course, on a 13-hr flight. and the article has since been corrected]:

Murakami sat on the floor and spoke briefly about Geisei [sic] #10. It had been a success, he said, to the extent that it had given young artists a chance to show their work and make contacts.This latest fair had also begun to reach an international audience — we ourselves were the tautological proof of that.

Now, I’m actually a big fan of Japan’s otaku cultures and the DIY sensibility that underpins both the kawaii school of crafty, little artmaking as well as the whole jishu eiga/self-made movie trend. Murakami deserves plenty of credit for trying to bring this kind of creative production to the art world’s [sic] attention, or to formulate a more sophisticated context for it, anyway. [That said, Murakami worship needs some context, too; while he creates the open forum for an all-comers art fair on the one hand, he happily sends his characters to the front to provide cultural cover for complicated-at-least developers like the Moris, whose massive Roppongi Hills megaplex is a Kaikai Kiki-branded project. And it sounds like the “fancy downtown hotel” [sic] where the junketeers stayed. Good to hear Tokyo’s “downtown” is improving.]

But from Robinson’s bemused, deracinated gaijin schtick, it doesn’t sound like he even cracked the spine on Murakami’s intensely argued Little Boy exhibition catalogue before he accepted the artist’s hospitality. Fortunately, the movement, such as it is, is probably as uninterested in Robinson’s clueless opinions as he is with trying to grasp what’s in front of him.

walter_robinson_pointy_melon.jpg image: shibuyabuya

I wonder who else went? And while I’m less interested in whether they disclose the junket, and more interested in hearing what someone has to say whose pointy melon hasn’t been so shaped by the art world’s tiny box.
Murakami, Impresario [artnet]
Previously: Tokyo Snapshots – Takashi Murakami Corp. 08/05
Geisai #10 [geisai.net]
Takashi Murakami interview before Geisai #10 [tokyoartbeat]
update: that didn’t take long. I hear that art magazine folks Judd Tully (Art & Auction), Cathy Bird (Art & Antiques), Dan Fox (Frieze) and a couple of others took the trip. I’d be surprised if someone from the new LTB title Culture & Travel wasn’t tagging along, too.