Takashi Murakami has a flair for the eccentric, and the show that opened this week at Gagosian Gallery — In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow — does not disappoint. Inspired by the history of art as a response to natural disasters in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the works in this show reveal a study in dichotomies and opposites. Murakami’s pieces are somber reflections on apocalyptic devastation that nevertheless maintain the saccharine palette and playful forms associated with his work. This show invites reflection on religion and nature, chaos and order.
Well-attended by art world notables including Melissa Chiu, new director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and MOCA’s new director, Philippe Vergne, Murakami himself was also among the crowd sporting a fittingly disturbing headpiece adorned with an extra pair of his trademark round glasses. Click through our slideshow above for images that capture Murakami’s monumental new work and the stylish scene of the show’s opening night.