Think contemporary art’s going mainstream? It doesn’t end with Louis Vuitton bags and album covers. Joining the cartoon figures and name-brand mascots at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade were superstar contemporary artist Takashi Murakami’s signature surreal characters, KaiKai and KiKi, two anime critters that share monikers with Murakami’s company.
The jump to holiday parade floats is a logical one for the Japanese artist who spearheads Superflat, a movement whose chief tenet is to further flatten high and low culture until no seam is visible: keychains are the same to Murakami as million-dollar paintings, the floats are just icing on an international aesthetic cake. It’s just fun to see Murakami’s mascots in the same context as Kung-Fu Panda and the Pillsbury Doughboy, but Murakami’s float is selling nothing but his own artistic ideas.
Murakami joins a growing crew of artists featured in the Parade, including Jeff Koons in 2009. Below, check out a selection of photos from Murakami’s participation in the parade, which also featured the artist himself dancing on the float wearing a flower suit, another trademark.