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At Sothebys an anonymous bidder bought a bull in a tank of formaldehyde for £10.3million. The worlds most expensive cut of beef was cooked up, inevitably, by the artist Damien Hirst, whose Beautiful Inside My Head Forever sale of 223 new works fetched £111.5million, a record for an auction dedicated to one artist.
The illustrious Australian art critic Robert Hughes, however, isnt buying the hype.

Murakami owes much of his success to the highly efficient Hiropon Factory. Hardly a reclusive artist toiling in his garret studio, he employs 25 assistants to perform specialized tasks, and he uses technology in pragmatic, labor-saving ways. Because his work features a number of recurring motifs – eyeballs, mushrooms, flowers – the factory maintains an immense electronic archive of renderings that he can cut and paste into the files he’s working on. Murakami may be the first artist to make paintings from his own portfolio of digital clip art.

Each creation begins as a sketch in one of numerous pocket-sized notebooks. Full-size drawings are then scanned into the computer. From there, Murakami “paints” his works in Adobe Illustrator, tweaking the composition and cycling through thousands of colors until at last he hands the finished versions off to his assistants. His staff then prints out the work on paper, silk-screens the outline onto canvas, and commences painting. Without this embrace of technology, Murakami says, “I could have never produced this many works this efficiently, and the work wouldn’t be as intense.”

The fusion of art and computing led Murakami to a pictorial style that rejects the illusion of depth and perspective.

Kai Kiki Co was founded by Takashi Murakami in 2001

Steadfast to the principle that art should be present in everyday life, Kaikai Kiki produces a range of artist-related merchandise that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere. Controversial for his Superflat theory, Murakami believes that the flat, consumerist society we live in calls for a rethinking of the relationship between commerce and art, and the acceptance of this fusion is more evolved in Japan.

In addition to Murakami, Kaikai Kiki works with a select group of younger artists. By facilitating agreements with world-class galleries, organizing and implementing exhibitions and projects, handling public relations and biographical information, and offering Murakami’s personal feedback on work in progress, Kaikai Kiki is dedicated to the growth and success of these emerging artists.

Why manage artists?

According to Murakami, he had “seen many talented artists suffer from directionless management, and I at least wanted to provide good navigation for young artists who made their debut while working for me.” Kaikai Kiki currently works with six artists, some of whom are employed by Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. and hold separate positions in the company, and some of whom produce work on their own.

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