Yoshitomo Nara is among the most beloved contemporary artists, an art-world sensation who over the past three decades has gained a loyal cult following across the globe. This spring the definitive monograph on the artist, Yoshitomo Nara, written by curator and professor Yeewan Koon, will be published ahead of a major retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Yoshitomo Nara rose to prominence in the early 2000s, a star in a generation of avant-garde Japanese artists associated with the Neo-Pop “Superflat” movement, including Takashi Murakami. His iconic images of big-headed girls have been used on commercial products, limited editions, and mass-produced items, which has made his work incredibly recognizable.
The volume was made in close collaboration with Nara himself, and it tells the story of his life and career. From his early days as a student at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf through to the present day, Yoshitomo Nara covers the breadth of his work in painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, and photography.
The book is narrated over five chapters, each of which covers a key theme of his practice: the influence of punk and classic rock music; his experimentations with his big-headed girl figure; his collaborative projects with artists and musicians; his relatively unknown photography work; and his more recent work that responds to the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster that affected his home region of northern Japan. This event changed the course of his art practice, which has become both more spiritual and politically charged.
The cover of Yoshitomo Nara is adorned by an iconic portrait from 2017 on the cover, and the interior is packed with nearly 400 illustrations, including dozens
of works that have never been published: paintings, photographs, and personal sketches not originally meant for public viewing but which, seen alongside his most well-known works, give us an insider’s view into the artist’s internal world.
About the Authors
Yoshitomo Nara graduated with a master’s degree from Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music and later studied at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. His work is in private and public collections worldwide.
Yeewan Koon is associate professor in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Hong Kong, teaching Chinese and Japanese art history. In 2018 she was one of the selected curators for the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea.
Hardcover; 330 pages
London and New York: Phaidon, 2020
ISBN: 978 0 7148 7994 9
10 x 11.5 inches
Weight: 4 lbs