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On your history with the artist. Pedro Alonzo: I first met Nara in the late '90s on the occasion of one of his first exhibitions in the U.S. at INOVA [Institute of Visual Arts] in Milwaukee. Peter Doroshenko was the director of INOVA then. [Doroshenko is now director of the Dallas Contemporary.] I've known Nara and followed his work for many years since. We occasionally correspond and see each other in the art-world circuit. I've attended his openings in L.A., seen several of his exhibitions in museums in New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, and the Toyota museum [Japan]. When the Dallas Contemporary show was hatched. PA: I first spoke to [gallerist] Tim Blum [Blum & Poe, one of the artist's two global galleries] about doing a show at Dallas C o n t e m p o r a r y. Ti m w a s enthusiastic. He suggested I travel to Japan to see Nara's show at the Toyota Museum and to meet with the artist. Nara and I had not seen each other in several years. We had a lovely lunch, and I invited him to do a show. Nara said he would have to think about it, check his exhibition commitments, etc. He would let me know in a week. A week later, he replied, "Yes." I was thrilled. What is Nara like? PA: He's a lovely human being. Charming, funny. A pleasure to be with, but also a quiet individual. A private person. I have tremendous respect for him. Nara anecdote. PA: I started an art-book distribution company in college, initially importing art books from Mexico to the U.S. At the recommendation of Nara's gallery, Blum & Poe, I began to import and distribute Nara's books in the U.S. I was amazed by the love for his work and corresponding demand for his books from an unusually broad public. The books were a huge success and began to appear in museum stores and bookshops across the country. Several years later, after having worked with his books for some time, my wife and I attended the opening of Nara's exhibition in L.A. at Blum & Poe. Upon seeing me, he simply thanked me — "Arigato," with a smile. It took me a while to understand that he was thanking me for bringing his books to the U.S. It became clear to me at that moment that he is committed to making his work accessible to the public. I was moved by his commitment to his public. I no longer distribute books, but the experience was enlightening. Did you have a crystal ball when you organized this exhibition, which coincides with the artist's international touring retrospective and also the release of the new Phaidon book? PA: I had no idea there would be such a confluence of activity. Sometimes these things work out that way. What is unique about the Dallas exhibition versus the LACMA show? PA: Most of the artworks in the [Dallas Contemporary] show were made in the last two years. The exhibition includes several impressive large-scale paintings (Continued on page 108) (Continued from page 102) Yoshitomo Nara 104

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