Murakami Art Auction Fetches $9 million for Quake Aid

A collection of contemporary artworks by Takashi Murakami and others fetched nearly $9 million (about ¥700 million) in a New York auction to raise funds for the victims of the March 11 disaster, Christie’s said Wednesday.

The 21 works were sold for a total of $8.76 million, far above the estimate of $5 million, it said, adding that proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Sasakawa Peace Foundation as well as two other organizations.

At the start of the auction, actor Ken Watanabe read a poem, "Ame ni mo Makezu" ("Undaunted by Rain"), by Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933), in English and Japanese. Miyazawa was a poet and author of children’s books from Iwate Prefecture, which was hit hard by the disaster.

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Japanese pop art at Versailles incites protests

A show of outlandish sculptures by a cult Japanese artist in the historic Chateau of Versailles near Paris has enraged traditionalists who say it dishonours France’s past.

From September 14 to December 12, visitors to Versailles will see eye-grabbing multicoloured statues in silver, fibreglass and metal by Takashi Murakami alongside the chateau’s ornate murals and chandeliers.

"The Chateau de Versailles is one of the greatest symbols of Western history," Murakami said in a statement on the museum’s website.

"The Versailles of my imagination… has become a kind of completely separate and unreal world," he added. "That is what I have tried to depict in this exhibition."

Versailles enthusiasts however branded it an outrage to their beloved museum in the posh Paris suburb.

"Murakami and company have no business in the Chateau of Versailles!" reads a message on the website Versailles Mon Amour, dedicated to a petition which it says has gained more than 3,500 signatures.

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