Utilizing the “dumb” vocabulary of pop to socially critique the toxic issues of empty cuteness and diversion, early Murakami’s sardonic hook was unfortunately on point. The sticky, sweet rebellious critique fed a cynical Postmodernism the soft intellectual candy it wanted, complete with a shell of self-deprecating irony. Swallowed whole by the ever-morphing capitalist monster, Murakami’s weightless, smiling monsters allowed gleefully vacuity over introspection as consumable, self-referential jokes.
The older Murakami atones by aligning with historical reverence to produce beautiful, legacy-centric work. Swaddled in capitalist tentacles the new work is huge and benign, amputated of criticality as production swells.
~ Ryder Richards
images courtesy of the author’s phone, and “Tan Tan Bo Puking” courtesy of The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
—images in very loose chronological order—