MOCA and Vuitton get sued by a collector over his prints. It’s spiraled into a bigger thing now that the LA TImes and New York TImes are covering it, and the City of LA wants to collect taxes on the profit of the pop up store. Word on the street is that Murakami is unhappy with how his career is progressing. At some point the collector has to question the relationship each artist has with commerce. Will the Murakami or Hirst age as well as the Richter? No. Maybe all this press will have a positive effect? Does the old adage, any press is good press work for artists too?
Usually Louis Vuitton is on the suing end of lawsuits but it currently finds itself as the sued. Clint Arthur, who purchased several works by Takashi Murakami at the Vuitton boutique set up at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, is suing both Vuitton and the MOCA. Arthur first filed a lawsuit a year ago over a lack of proper documentation in regards to the two limited-edition prints he bought for a total of $12,000 in 2007. But now Clint Arthur considers himself the victim of a fraud after finding out, through an interview that the show curator Paul Schimmel did with ARTINFO in 2007 tthat the prints are made from the same materials as Murakami handbags. Basically Arthur could have bought himself a handbag for around $1,000 with the same fabric and some bonus hardware too.
Louis Vuitton says the blurring of art and commerce is part of the Murakami experience. Vuitton points out that Arthur has declined an offer of $12,000 plus interest which Vuitton alleges shows that the suit is just a bid for publicity and profit. Arthur for his part seems to be angry and driven by an urge to get to the bottom of the motives of both Murakami and Louis Vuitton. A hearing is scheduled for Monday on the motion to dismiss from Louis Vuitton.
Has the craze for Japanese artist and Louis Vuitton collaborator Takashi Murakami’s work become the latest victim of the looming recession? In May, art world observers were astounded when Murakami‘s onanistic sculpture My Lonesome Cowboy, estimated at $3 – $4 million, ended up going for $15 million at a Sotheby’s auction. Many expected a similar result Saturday evening when Phillips de Pury put another major Murakami work up for auction in London. However, the 21-ft. sculpture Tongari-kun (above), estimated at $6 – $7.8 million, did not draw a single bid, Bloomberg reports.
Moreover, Murakami himself was in the auction audience, no doubt wanting to witness the windfall in person. He took the snub well, however; as nothing but silence answered the auctioneer’s calls, the artist burst out laughing. Some insiders said Murakami had been considering staging a big bucks solo auction like the one so successfully run by Damien Hirst, but he may rethink that now, at least until the economic picture improves. Hirst of course looks even more brilliant for staging his $200 million sale right before the financial markets really went to hell in a handbasket.