Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody's Fool

Overview

Created in partnership with Asia Society Museum in conjunction with a major retrospective, this is the first comprehensive monograph on the work of art superstar Yoshitomo Nara. It assembles 20 years worth of paintings, sculptures, and drawings that map the evolution of one of the most influential and internationally renowned artists working today. The book and exhibition will draw connections between Nara’s work and the sensibilities of youth subcultures worldwide, focusing on themes of alienation and rebellion,...

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Overview

Created in partnership with Asia Society Museum in conjunction with a major retrospective, this is the first comprehensive monograph on the work of art superstar Yoshitomo Nara. It assembles 20 years worth of paintings, sculptures, and drawings that map the evolution of one of the most influential and internationally renowned artists working today. The book and exhibition will draw connections between Nara’s work and the sensibilities of youth subcultures worldwide, focusing on themes of alienation and rebellion, particularly in relation to rock and punk music, the inspiration and subject of many of Nara’s works. Featuring artworks that have never before been exhibited, this is the book Nara’s legion of devoted followers have been waiting for. 

Praise for Yoshimoto Nara:

"Nara's work has an irresistible appeal well represented here." --Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In September the work of the contemporary Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara will fill New York City's Asia Society Museum (of which Chiu is director) in an unprecedented one-man show. This catalogue also pulls out all the stops. Mimicking the windows in Nara's installations, an elaborate slipcase has cutouts with several of Nara's captivating characters peeking out. The essays, of uneven quality, place Nara in the company of animator Walt Disney, indie rock, and Margaret Keane, a painter of kitschy, wide-eyed child-people. Nara speaks best for himself in 300 illustrations and in several blog entries. He describes his love of album jacket art: "Once I spilled coffee over a jacket. It didn't affect the sound, but I ended up buying the same record again (laugh...)." These excerpts represent Nara as a truly contemporary artist engaged with social media and unafraid to pop up on mass merchandise. With its punk music influences and Morton-salt-girl-meets-David-Lynch aesthetic, Nara's work has an irresistible appeal well represented here. (Oct.)
Library Journal
New York's Asia Society has produced a splendid work to accompany its exhibition of neo-pop artist Nara's works, cocurated by the authors. Not just a catalog of the displayed artworks, this is a fully realized study of Nara's life and times. The essays explore the influences of childhood, school, punk music, and Japanese society's rigid structure on Nara's output. Obviously influenced by Japanese comic books (manga), Nara created a menagerie of winsome dogs and a universe of tough little girls with big eyes. If this seems a replay of the cloying world of Hello Kitty, it most certainly is not. Viewing the angst-ridden drawings Nara did as a student in Germany, we can see the painterly touch present in his later work. Brushstrokes and shading are two of the many differences between contemporary Japan's Superflat artists and Nara. The book's 300 color illustrations, layout, and cunningly cut slipcase are a joy. The thin, spidery typeface, alas, is ugly and difficult to read. VERDICT Essential for all art collections and for readers interested in contemporary Japan.—David McClelland, Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810994140
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 944,423
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 12.60 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Melissa Chiu and Miwako Tezuka are the director and associate curator of Asia Society Museum and cocurators of the 2010 exhibition.

Midori Matsui is a noted Japanese art critic. Michael Wilson is an associate editor for Artforum magazine.

Hideki Toyoshima founded graf design collective, which has collaborated with Nara on multiple installations.

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