My art dealer friend in Manhattan alerted me to this NYT article on Takashi Murakami's latest art show there. The following is the main part of my response, slightly edited. I usually stay away form writing about this sort of thing, but I think it made sense. I hope you agree.
I have no opinion on the artistic merits of Takashi Murakami's work. But the tea ceremony in traditional wear and the Daruma iconography of his latest body of work would be considered the stalest of clichés it if they had come from anyone other than Murakami.
What interests me more is that I think he is deliberately copying the pre-modern art business model, where workshops of the Rembrandts and the Dürers churned out masterpieces and not-so masterpieces for their wealthier clients and reams of cheap monochrome knockoffs for the less well-off. This tradition, of course, had been continued by the Diors and the St. Laurents and their cultural offspring, the artisan cousins of high art. Another way of looking at Murakami is that he is taking this scheme to another level of moneyed clients.