Takashi Murakami Scales Back at Art Basel

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

There's an old joke that an artist attending an art fair is like a cow touring a butcher shop, but this year, Art Basel and its satellite fairs have been swarming with them, often used as celebrity magnets to draw collectors to events and openings in a sluggish market. Chuck Close and Vic Muniz have been spotted. David LaChapelle, whose "Jesus Is My Homeboy" show at Wolfgang Roth and Partners Fine Art has been one of the few hits of the fair, flew in from Hawaii for the opening of it and for Russell Simmons's charity dinner for Rush Philanthropic. And Carole Feuerman is here mourning the fact that her sculpture The Survival of Serena, on its way to being displayed at the entrance of Art Miami, "broke into a hundred pieces."

Takashi Murakami, lounging outside the Louis nightclub at the Gansevoort, is sanguine about the art bubble’s bust: "We knew this was coming for about a year. And have been scaling back" both production and product. What’s next? "More scaling back," he says. But, in at least one field, he’s expanding. Murakami’s production company, Kaikai Kiki, opens an animation studio in Hollywood this summer for more cartoons of big-eyed grinning rabbits and Buddhas.