Current Issue: Fall 2023 Quarterly #227
We use the term “monster” a lot in popular culture, almost to a fault. There is a fascination with these terrors of such abnormal size because we can also relate to them. A monster isn’t so much a thing but a metaphor, an embodiment of something deep within ourselves and our imagination. Obviously, Godzilla wasn’t just about a gigantic prehistoric lizard wreaking havoc on Tokyo; it was a story of the fear of nuclear war, or, what we as humans were capable of as monsters ourselves. And in the 21st century, the monster that terrorizes us isn’t so much the threat of war (although that is still rather pertinent these days), but the myriad radical shifts we have made through science and technology, things so unfathomable as to be greater than what we define as human. With that are new kinds of anxiety as we seek our role and our potential in what we call the universe. This is a reality that Takashi Murakami, through his artwork and own technology-based projects, has confronted. This fall, he opens Takashi Murakami: Unfamiliar People — Swelling of Monsterized Human Ego at the Asian Art Museum, a long-awaited show that acts, like many of his museum shows, as a retrospective and contemporary survey.
The Fall Quarterly isn’t so much about monsters but the ways in which we bend reality, contort 10 FALL 2023 the human form and redefine selfhood. Painters like Arjen and Peggy Kuiper elongate and enlarge the body in quite unimaginable ways. Taravat Talepasand, Genevieve Gaignard, and Zoé Blue M. create paintings and collages that reengage with the limits and endless possibilities of self- hood. You can’t help but think of the ghostlike composition of the figures in the paintings of Cinga Samson, almost religious and sensual, as he asks himself, “How do you paint beauty and terror?”
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