Last year the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art decided that its Takashi Murakami exhibition, now at the Brooklyn Museum, required a Louis Vuitton boutique within the show as an actual gallery, not just as a gift shop. This was supposed to illustrate the way that Murakami straddled the world of art and merchandising. Why they couldn’t make that point with a gallery/shop that sold Murakam t-shirts instead of a high end boutique that mostly moved goods affordable only to the most affluent visitors to the show, shutting out everybody else, is a question I’ve already wondered about, but never mind.
At the time the museum announced that it wouldn’t share in any revenues from the boutique, because to do that could jeopardize its status as a non-profit. Now it turns out that the gift shop not only won’t bring in any profits for MOCA, it may generate some losses for Louis Vuitton, or at least some bad publicity for all concerned. The Los Angeles Times is reporting today that an L.A. businessman and collector has brought a class action suit against the luxury goods manufacturer for selling Murakami prints at the boutique for an average of $8000 each that he says did not have the authentications required by California law. Neither Murakami nor the museum is named in the suit.
Maybe Louis Vuitton can compensate the guy with a Murakami clutch purse. In the iron clad logic of the show, that’s just as important as the prints he bought.