Murakami’s Mr. Pointy Rules Rockefeller Center

When he’s not collaborating with fashion designer Marc Jacobs, nor adding to his line of surreal, mass-market figurines, nor dreaming up psychedelic t-shirt designs, Takashi Murakami creates public art. For “Reversed Double Helix,” his installation running at New York’s Rockefeller Center Plaza through Oct. 12, 2003, Murakami combined his training in nihon-ga (a classical style of Japanese painting) with his love of anime (animation), magna (comics), and pop art. The result? The Plaza is now lorded over by a 28-foot-tall sculpture known as Tongari-kun (“Mr. Pointy”), which is flanked by a phalanx of cartoon guards, happy flowers, and fanged mushrooms.

The works featured in “Reversed Double Helix” reflect not only Murakami’s “superflat” aesthetic—a 2-D approach that currently dominates Japanese visual and graphic art—but also his humor. After all, how many people could happily hold the hand of an 8-foot, four-armed, Pillsbury Doughboy-like monster?

Judge for yourself with these photos, taken at the installation’s launch.

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