Nara Arrested for Graffiti Before Boesky Opening


Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara didn’t have time for the usual last-minute preparations before the Feb. 28 opening of his show at Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York. Like Shepard Fairey, who was arrested on his way to the opening of his retrospective at the Boston ICA last month, Nara was busy earning some street cred, and getting an introduction to the New York City jail system.

Known for his paintings and sculptures of doe-eyed figures, Nara was arrested the day before his show for tagging graffiti-a portrait in marker of two Japanese friends-at the Union Square subway station. Subsisting on peanut butter sandwiches and milk, he spent two days in the downtown jail, which he optimistically described as “a nice experience in my life,” saying it was “like in the movies,” a small space filled with all manner of people he would not otherwise meet. Nara’s show is on view at Boesky through Mar. 28. He’ll be back in town before the opening of his survey at the Asia Society in September 2010, but he doesn’t plan on being a repeat offender.