I went visited The Broad with one of my good friends, Fillip. During our visit, we decided to mainly focus on Takashi Murakami’s art pieces. Vivid with bright colors and images, his artwork stood out to us in comparison to other pieces The Broad had on display. The two pieces were In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow and Dob in the Strange Forest. Upon research, we found that The Broad has collected eleven of his pieces, but only four of them are on display at a time – meaning they get switched out regularly.
The first of the pieces I are analyzed was In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow. This piece was extremely large lining completely covering two sides of a large room. The total length of the 5 canvases put together is 82 feet long, and roughly 10 feet tall. This piece is extremely graphic and colorful. Massive cartoon images of Japanese royalty, mythical snake head human creatures, oversized chickens, oversized elephants, poverty-stricken toddlers, and ocean waves fill the spaces of the canvas. At first glance, this piece seems to represent a happy, psychedelic scene from the mind of someone on some sort of drug; however, after closer inspection, the images in this piece seem to represent a catastrophe. Starting from one end of the canvases is the image of a mythical creature seeming to force a massive ocean wave to crash down over the town – wreaking havoc on the town. Directly next the crash is a mesh of patterns and colors, not necessarily clearly representing any object in particular, but more so a mixture of images of objects squished into one. This mixture of images represents how the ocean crash ruined the objects it crashed into. The rest of the ocean wave has very clear stripes of colors running along, whereas this jumble of colors has blurred lines and images and lots of brown color – showing how what once was sharp and colorful is now ruined to be brown and blurred. Further beside this wave crash, images of Japanese royalty along with their oversized chicken stand on little islands, safe from the effects of the ocean crash. Their expressions appear guilty as if they are responsible for the harm of the crash. Perhaps to represent how Takashi Murakami feels about the the Japanese royalty in real life and their negligence to fix what is harming their people.
Before going to The Broad we had never heard of Takashi Murakami and had never seen any of his lively works. It is clear to see that the artist is heavily influenced by his Japanese background and makes Japanese culture come to life in his works. Despite the bright color and playful animation, his pieces still portray deep messages that are meant to evoke emotion from the viewer.