Yoshitomo Nara: Lullaby Supermarket

Main Gallery Mar 24–May 20, 2000

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Yoshitomo Nara: Lullaby Supermarket
Mar 24–May 20, 2000





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Yoshitomo Nara: Lullaby Supermarket, 2000, Installation view

Yoshitomo Nara is one of Japan’s most recognized sculptors within a new generation of hybrid artists including Takashi Murakami, Mariko Mori, and Tao Chiezo. Weaned on American consumerism and daily Japanese cartoons, these artists create works that demonstrate an ambivalent relationship with mass culture. Nara’s work combines the idea of mass consumerism of popular culture with the simple forms and colors of traditional Japanese art caricatures. With children and animals as perpetual motifs, his cartoon and manga comics-inspired art takes the form of sculpture, drawings, and painting, as well as T-shirts, watches, posters, and books. His children–with their large heads, vacant eyes, and adult expressions–express a unique and complex psychology in which cuteness, melancholy, and cruelty are linked. The scale and presence of these teasingly psychological works suggest a darker side of childhood memories even as they are pleasantly reminiscent of a preverbal infancy. This was Nara’s first exhibition in an American museum.