I played hookey today and headed over to Blum & Poe to see the Yoshitomo Nara show. I forgot my camera, but I had my iphone! See all the photos I took on my Flickr page, or check out my favorites after the jump.
This is the second Nara show I have seen in person. The first was a few years ago in San Jose. I have been a Yoshitomo Nara fan for a long time, and his work always astounds me in person. First of all- it's HUGE. Three of the paintings in this show were wall sized. Secondly, his work always appears childlike on the surface, but when you are seeing it in person, it takes on such a different feeling. Many of the pieces are on rough, nailed together pieces of wood, or are showcased in old scratched frames. The girls often are beat up, bleeding, or maimed in some way. Not to mention that the paintings usually always have some form of profanity scrawled next to the characters in Nara's signature penmanship.
In this show in particular, Nara built a wagon and filled it with what I assume to be are trinkets and items of inspiration from his studio. It really did feel like a studio- even though it was such a small space. The fact that it was in a wagon made you feel like the art was heading in a new direction, like it was waiting for new events to unfold on it's path. It was a truly wonderful installation- complete with a loop of the Vandals song "My Girlfriends Dead." Aside from the toys and sketches, it was filled with coffee cups, ramen packets and empty beer bottles. I'd guess those are also items that are prevelant in Nara's Tokyo studio.
Nara was born in Japan but he studied in Germany and many of the pieces have German writing on them. I wish I knew German so I could read what they say.
There was a wall with 6 pretty detailed sketches of girls. I haven't seen such detailed sketches by Nara before- the ones in this show were really quite intricate up close. I tried to take some close ups so you could see all the fine lines and shading.
His plexi-glass peace symbol was filled with the most amazing handmade toys. I wanted them all! I wish I could take them out and see each one- but I guess it's part of the allure that they so crowded that they are nearly undecipherable as individual items.
The show is at Blum & Poe till the end of the month- check it out if you are in Los Angeles!