The Broad Un-Private Collection conversation series dives deep into Superflat as Takashi Murakami is interviewed by author, thinker and cultural philosopher Pico Iyer. Murakami is best known as the leading practitioner of the Superflat stylistic movement, as well as a painter, sculptor, newly minted filmmaker and Louis Vuitton design collaborator, with influences ranging from 19th-century Japanese painting to Buddhism, anime and post-war social politics. [See Arts for more on Murakami.] Iyer – perhaps best known in the United States as the author of The Open Road: The Global Journey of the 14th Dalai Lama – has lived in Tokyo for 27 years, and as such is in a remarkable position to elicit from Murakami insight as to the intersection of the personal and national, epic and intimate in his art. “I actually think he's one of the most vital and essential figures in Japan today,” Iyer says, “and [he] is trying, with unusual energy, intelligence and vision, to wake the country up out of its long stupor and to face realities it too often looks away from.” Since the tsunami and nuclear meltdown three years ago, Iyer believes Murakami's work is “much more compassionate, more sympathetic, even more hopeful.” Iyer says, “It's as if he's extending a hand to his traumatized and lost nation, as well as punching through surfaces … to secret messages about what happens if you settle for a cartoon vision of reality. People liken him often to Andy Warhol or perhaps Roy Lichtenstein, but to me he's much deeper, more thoughtful and searching; he's not just playing games. I can't remember looking forward to an onstage conversation so much.” We feel the same way. Orpheum Theatre, 842 Broadway, dwntwn.; Thu., May 29, 8 p.m.; $12. (310) 399-4004,

Thu., May 29, 8 p.m., 2014
(Expired: 05/29/14)

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.