Takashi Murakami: Unfamiliar People-Swelling of the Monsterized Human Ego

Join Rob Mintz, chief curator at the Asian Art Museum, and Laura Allen, the museum's Senior Curator of Japanese Art for an engaging conversation about Murakami's blockbuster exhibition Unfamiliar People: The Swelling of Monsterized Human Ego.  The show, four years in the making, takes anime and manga to new heights.  This is Takashi Murakami's first solo exhibition in San Francisco.  The exhibit is not only a commentary on our society, it's a nuanced examination of human behavior within an extraordinary artistic framework.

Laura Allen has known Murakami since the Fall of 2019, when she visited the artist in his Tokyo studio.  Together with Rob Mintz, she'll provide insight into Murakami's personality, both as an artist as well as a social scientist.  She'll also talk about her collaboration with Murakami; discuss the many pitfalls she encountered along the way as well as what finally convinced him to create this extraordinary exhibit and display it at the Asian Art Museum.

About the Speaker

Dr. Laura W. Allen is senior curator of Japanese art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. After receiving a doctorate in Japanese art history at UC Berkeley, Dr. Allen spent more than two decades teaching, consulting, and publishing on Japanese art before joining the Asian Art Museum staff in 2012. Since then, she has overseen an ambitious program of exhibitions, including two very different shows opening in the fall of 2023, Takashi Murakami: Unfamiliar People – Swelling of Monsterized Human Ego and The Heart of Zen

Dr. Robert Mintz is the chief curator at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. He oversees the curatorial research program and guides the growth and preservation of the museum’s art collections. Mintz is a specialist in Japanese art history with a keen interest in painting. With degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Washington, he has spent his career working in public art museums trying to make the arts of Asia accessible and inspirational to the widest possible range of audiences.

Main image: Bacon: Scream, 2019, by Takashi Murakami (Japanese, b. 1962). Acrylic, gold leaf, and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on aluminum frame. Collection of D.K., courtesy of the artist and Perrotin. © 2019 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


Jim Brown


An Asia Pacific Affairs Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums.

Image - Laura Allen

Laura Allen

Senior Curator Japanese Art, Asian Art Museum

Image - Rob Mintz

Rob Mintz

Chief Curator, Asian Art Museum—Moderator