A Closer Look
The double helix is the structure of the DNA molecule, a twisted ladder-like stack of building blocks called nucleotides. Our DNA makes us who we are. Why do you think Murakami called his strange artwork Reversed Double Helix? Have you ever seen anything like it in real life? Murakami is very interested in cartoons. Try drawing your own cartoon character. Then take some clay and make a three-dimensional version of your creation.
About the Sculpture
From September 9 until October 12, 2003, Reversed Double Helix by Takashi Murakami "transformed Rockefeller Center from a bustling business center to a cartoon world," according to one observer. The show included a 23-foot high sculpture called "Tongari-kun" (Japanese for "Mr. Pointy"). It is made of cast fiberglass, a plastic resin filled with glass fibers. Two giant balloons floated over Mr. Pointy's head, and he was surrounded by fiberglass mushrooms for people to sit on. Mr. Pointy had twenty arms and sat on top of a frog.
About the Artist
Some people compare Takashi Murakami to Andy Warhol because he combines popular culture and art. Murakami makes paintings and sculptures as well as T-shirts, key chains, mousepads, dolls, cell phone caddies and purses. He studied traditional Japanese painting but cartoons, especially anime, have had a major effect on his work. He calls his style "superflat" because he doesn't create the illusion of depth.
Write About It
- Make a list of what you see.
- How did the artist use the elements and principles of design?
- What do you think the sculpture means? How does it make you feel?
- Select two sculptures to compare & contrast.