cover image Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody's Fool

Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody's Fool

Melissa Chiu and Miwako Tezuka et al, Abrams, $60 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8109-9414-0

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.)