Murakami hosts art preview for Japan benefit auction
NEW YORK (ACNI) – Takashi Murakami looked happier than the cartoonized version of himself portrayed on the wall behind him on Oct. 28, and rightly so, as his efforts to curate the upcoming “Artists for Japan” auction at Christies are expected to earn upward of $5 million.
The proceeds of the auction will go on to benefit the victims of the Japan’s Tokohu-Pacific earthquake through contributions to the Saskawa Peace Foundation, Global Giving, and International Medical Corps.
Murakami acknowledged that he had anticipated that some of his friends and colleagues would have to turn him down, as busy artists sometimes have to refuse even the most worthy of causes, but to his surprise and pleasure, “100 percent said yes,” Murakami noted.
The resulting donated pieces, some of them created especially for the event, reflect a who’s who of some of the most noted contemporary artists today: Zeng Fanzhi, Mark Grotjahn, Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, KAWS, Jeff Koons, Friedrich Kunath, Mr., Yoshitomo Nara, Gabriel Orozco, Anselm Reyle, Cindy Sherman, Aya Takano and Luc Tuymans.
The auction will take place at Christies on Wednesday, Nov. 9, beginning at 9:30 a.m., an unusually early hour that will allow for viewing in Japan. Ken Watanabe, the Japanese actor and co-founder of the initiative Kizuna311, a project that offers support to earthquake victims, will read a poem to open the auction. Murakami, who hadn’t known the actor originally, invited him to participate after a search online revealed Watanabe reciting the very same poem Murakami had wanted to use at the auction. “It was like fate,” said Murakami, “I sent him this very long email asking him to participate, and he replied with one line: ‘OK, I’m interested.’”
While individually, many of the works of art don’t inherently address the earthquake, many have elements that feel appropriate to the occasion, such as the encroaching darkness in Luc Tyumans’ Shore, or in the sad expression of Lone Star, by Yoshitomo Nara. The presale exhibition, at Christies (20 Rockefeller Plaza), is ongoing from Nov. 4.
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