“For me, there is no distinct sex because people become men or women when they grow up,” explains the Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara. “Children are more neutral. That is the way I see them.” Nara is known for his cartoon-like depictions of children. Scaled large, and isolated in monochrome backgrounds, they’ve become haunting symbols of universality. Nara takes inspiration from many sources: literature, modern and Japanese art, memories of his childhood and of his 12 years living in Germany. He’s also passionate about music, and this exhibition focuses on the relationship between music and his art. One of the highlights of LACMA’s retrospective is Nara’s outdoor, 26-foot-tall Miss Forest—a girl transformed into a snow-covered fir. The painted bronze sculpture is positioned on Wilshire Boulevard. —E.C.
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