Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture, which opens TODAY at the Japan Society in NY, is Takashi Murakami’s latest baby. Little Boy also happens to be the codename of the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima, but here represents the pop phenomenon called “otaku”, a youthful subculture obsessed with sci-fi, video, manga and anime. The show, conceived and curated by Murakami, will feature works by artists such as Chinatsu Ban, Yoshitomo Nara, Chiho Aoshima and Aya Takano.
Artist: Takashi Murakami et al.
Otaku is not simply a superflat art form, but a context for a pop culture influenced by defeat in the Pacific War, devastation wrought by the bomb and an increasing military and political dependence on the US. The “tragic apocalyptic paradise that is Japan today”, according to Murakami, has replaced the traditional hierarchical society with a disposable consumer culture. The infantilization of the Japanese cultural mindset results in an obsessive fixation on cartoon imagery. And you thought Hello Kitty was all about being cute.
Little Boy continues at the Japan Society and throughout various public spaces until July 24.