Nara Yoshitomo (1959-present) is a contemporary Japanese Pop artist. He currently lives and works in Tokyo, though his artwork has been exhibited worldwide. Nara received his B.F.A. (1985) and an M.F.A. (1987) from the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music. Between 1988 and 1993, Nara studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, in Düsseldorf, Germany. Nara has had nearly 40 solo exhibitions since 1984. Nara first came to the fore of the art world during Japan’s Pop art movement in the 1990s. The subject matter of his sculptures and paintings is deceptively simple: Most works depict one seemingly innocuous subject (often pastel-hued children and animals drawn with confident, cartoonish lines) with little or no background. But these children, who appear at first to be cute and even vulnerable, sometimes brandish weapons, such as knives and saws. Their wide eyes often hold accusatory looks that could be sleepy-eyed irritation at being awoken from a nap—or that could be undiluted expressions of hate.
Pop artist Yoshitomo Nara arrested for graffiti in New York
Yoshitomo Nara, a contemporary Japanese pop artist known for sculptures and paintings of doe-eyed figures, was arrested in late February for tagging graffiti in the Union Square subway station, a New York Police Department official said Monday. Nara was arrested at 3:10 a.m. on Feb 27 and charged with criminal mischief, possession of graffiti instruments, making graffiti and resisting arrest, detective Martin Speechley told Kyodo News in a phone interview. An official at a New York art gallery where Nara’s exhibits are currently on display said the artist has already been released. Nara, 49, who lives and works in Tochigi Prefecture, was in New York for a solo exhibition of his work at the Marianne Boesky Gallery that runs Feb 28 through March 28. The online edition of Art in America magazine said Nara was caught tagging a graffiti portrait of two Japanese friends in the subway station and he was optimistic about his two days in lockup. It was ‘‘a nice experience in my life,’’ the artist was quoted as saying. He said the environment in which he found himself was like something in the movies. Nara emerged on the art scene during Japan’s pop art movement in the 1990s and has held solo exhibitions worldwide. His works are on display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.