I’m often asked the question: “What characterizes Japanese contemporary art?” At the risk of over-generalizing, I usually reply that two qualities recur among artists at the vanguard of this country’s creative culture — an obsessiveness vis a vis the subject, or an obsessive attention to detail in the actual execution.

Consider the highly finished work of Takashi Murakami and Mariko Mori. These two artists’ inspiration — in Murakami’s case manga, anime and otaku culture; for Mori, Eastern mysticism and New Age spiritualism — find form in pieces which are high-tech, very polished and large scale.

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