Saturday, May 19, 2012

Murakami and cai guo-giang

cai guo-qiang's oil painting "circle of fetuses"

cai guo-giang's gunpowder piece depicting Qatari abayas

Entrance to the "Murakami-Ego" exhibit - no photography inside!

My man and I spent the weekend catching up on some of the latest art exhibits of Doha before they packed up and left town for good.  We were particularly taken with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami's show "Murakami - Ego" at the Museum of Modern Art.  Like most people, I was already familiar with Murakami's work through his famous collaboration with Marc Jacobs/Vuitton.  I also distinctly remember thinking that was one of the ugliest lines Vuitton ever allowed I feel so ashamed I might just go watch like 14 hours of anime. I was humbled to discover an insightful, emotional, and fun exhibit inside those smiling daisy-covered walls.  We were most taken by his multi-panel piece depicting the devastation caused by the Japanese earthquake.  The whole piece must have been a hundred meters long, housing the image of 500 arhats.  That, and the fact that he directed Kanye West's "Good Morning" Video. Judge if you must.

Later, we moved on to the cai guo-qiang exhibit "saraab" (mirage, in Arabic) at Mathaf.  While I enjoyed the  narrative of a fantastical trip between his hometown of Guangzhou and Doha, I kept feeling like the idea was sort of, well, a stretch.  His unique perspective on Gulf culture was a delight though, especially his fixation on the Arabian horses.  I think those horses take longer to "get ready" in the morning than Clueless's Cher.  His artwork created by lighting stencils layered under gunpowder was cool, but much more cool after I watched a few clips of it being made here in town.  See below:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mixtapes and Young Money

Hats off to Vogue Magazine for this incredible portrait of Nicki Manaj.  Being out of country for almost two years I hadn't been privy to the rise of this young Trinidadian-born artist - who happens to be loads of fun to Wiki (where I got my title) and Youtube stalk. I appreciate her ability to maintain that Gaga touch of creepy without inspiring the nightmares.  Her whole vibe strikes me as Barbie meets Lil Kim meets Fifth Element meets Guess's Kate Upton phase with a "Love Lockdown" neon twist. 

"Love Lockdown" by Kanye West

The super-hero styling for this photo resonates with her history of using alter egos. Here's an interesting quip from her New York interview: "To get away from all of their fighting, I would imagine being a new person.  'Cookie' was my first identity - that stayed with me for a while. I went on to 'Harajuku Barbie' then 'Nicki Manaj.' Fantasy was my reality."  Unclear where this is all going but it's obvious that Manaj has an incredible talent which thankfully doesn't take itself too seriously, as showcased in this video.  I hope she produces something that I might actually consider playing in my ride without the added theatrics of her videos.  We'll see.

Fifth Element