Takashi Murakami
Panda, 2002
Fiberglas with antique Louis Vuitton trunk
100 x 65 x 43 inches
Collection of Gordon Locksley and George T. Shea

Takashi Murakami is one of Japan's leading contemporary artists, internationally recognized for both fine art and commercial products. The artist's diverse body of work explores the intricacies of the global market, brand identity, and consumer desire, especially within the context of Japanese pop culture.

Since 2002, Murakami has been collaborating with handbag designer Louis Vuitton on the production of goods that blur the lines between art and commerce. Panda is one of many works born of Murakami's relationship with the designer. The panda character has become a logo, of sorts, for the collaboration, and is printed on handbags and featured in animated promotional videos. Perched atop a vintage designer suitcase, Panda draws attention to the relationship between art and commerce and the reality that art can be defined as just another luxury item, like designer luggage. In addition to creating fine art for wealthy audiences, Murakami's factory-like studio (reminiscent of Andy Warhol's) also mass-produces cheaper goods for a larger market. The contradiction in Murakami's work further forces us to consider the connection between cultural goods and economic products.

Web site: http://english.kaikaikiki.co.jp