The turn out on Saturday for the Members' Opening at MOCA was unbelievable! And it was my kind of event--a crazy mix of fashion, art, commerce, the irreverant and silly. The place was jammed with what seemed like thousands of well-dressed or at least wildly dressed art lovers drawn by the the premiere of part one of Murakami's first major animated film, kaikai & kiki, the lure of a fully operational Louis Vuitton boutique, and a blow-out nightclub party.
The show itself was immense; more than 90 of Murakami's works in various mediums fill 35,000 square feet of exhibition space. A classically trained artist who made his name through otaku pop culture, Takashi Murakami first hit western consciousness with his flat anime/manga designs for Marc Jacobs' line of Louis Vuitton bags. With cover art for Kanye West's latest album and $900 LV bags under his belt, Murakami has become a virtual rock star in the art world.
After 20 minutes of waiting in line to hit the LV store within the exhibit, we finally made it inside. It was only Saturday and the saleswoman told me that they'd already done a quarter of a million dollars in sales that afternoon. The big bash to be held the following evening with Kanye West and Marc Jacobs in attendance promised to be even more lucrative.
In addition to the LV trunk filled with 13 Murakami bags selling for $500,000, the LV store at MOCA also boasted limited edition "paintings" of the fabric Murakami designed for Louis Vuitton, mounted as wall hangings. A limited number were available for $6,000 each and another group was selling for $10,000 each. In the store, we talked to four friends who had each purchased two "paintings" at $6,000 each--one to sell off in order to pay for the other. They were confident they were making a savvy purchase.
Another good bet if you're looking to pick up a collectible at this exibit: the LV agenda, which comes in three styles and ranges from $500 to $700. It features a new Murakami character, Chibi Kinoko, which means "little mushroom," making it a true collector's piece.
My favorite piece in the show was "Oval Buddha", a 17 foot high giant silver sculpture described by some as a cross between Humpty Dumpty and a big-headed alien. Murakami says it's a self-portrait. I loved it.
Part two of kaikai & kiki will open in the middle of December and part three in January. (c) MURAKAMI is organized by MOCA Chief Curator Paul Schimmel with Project Coordinator Mika Yoshitake and will travel to New York's Brooklyn Museum, Frankfurt's Museum fur Moderne Kunst and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain following its L.A. season.