The Japanese artist Takashi Murakami combines highly refined classical Japanese painting techniques with distinctive Pop sensibilities. Known for his “Superflat” style, directly influenced by manga and anime, the artist creates works that explode with color and playfulness. For the 2015–16 ski season, in collaboration with Aspen Skiing Company, Murakami has produced four unique images, all of which embody his trademark visual aesthetic.
With a keen sense of the inherent problems often encountered in communications between artist and viewer, Dave McKenzie uses objects, actions, and an equally poignant sense of humor to bridge that divide.
While the traditional exhibition format can be seen as unfolding through space during a fixed time, McKenzie’s exhibition at the AAM unfolded over time in a variety of spaces. The exhibition consisted of a sprawling environmental installation comprised of nearly twenty boom boxes, two video projections, and three hand-made sculptures of refrigerator boxes in various stages of use. The work reflected on living in America, both at the cusp of a historic presidency and also shortly after that election. Colliding world music, political speech, and popular culture, McKenzie’s installation functioned like reading the newspaper or watching the evening news and mapping the juxtaposition of stories, which reinforce each other at times and cancel each other out at others.
For Aspen’s Old-Fashioned Fourth of July parade, the Aspen Art Museum commissioned McKenzie to design a float for the celebration. McKenzie has created portraits of himself as a piñata, a papier-mâché figure, bobblehead doll, as well as superimposed his own likeness onto video footage of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day float. In keeping with this practice, McKenzie’s float was a massive self-portrait in the form of a cartoon balloon figure.
Combining the exhibition at the Aspen Art Museum with the creation of a float for Aspen’s Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Parade, along with other actions, McKenzie’s exhibition emphasized his ongoing interest in returning, revisiting, and addressing the temporal aspects of all relationships.
General operating support is provided by Colorado Creative Industries. CCI and its activities are made possible through an annual appropriation from the Colorado General Assembly and federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.