>Murakami's art would be great if he wasn't so pompous and condescending to otaku and Japanese culture in general (claiming that the Japanese have no concept of art).
I disagree. If there's any pop-culture art form that needs to be ripped on hard at this moment of its emergence, it's anime and manga. It's not just a cute little Japanese curiosity anymore. This shit has gone worldwide, and it poses a profound influence to creators worldwide these days, with all the good and bad that comes with it. It is only natural and downright healthy for its development that it should incur suitably scathing criticism.
>The "lowbrow" art he critiques and elevates with his "highbrow intellect" has critiqued itself with far more intelligence and wit within it's own industry.
That's highly debatable, and in my opinion, we haven't seen nearly enough of it. The West has yet to rip on anime properly because they haven't grown up with it like Japan has, and it's such a deeply ingrained commercial entity in Japan now that it's difficult to rip on the industry without being a part of the problem in the first place.
To me, the only "great" send-up of anime has been Project A-ko, which was ironically one of the greatest anime of all time by virtue of the huge pool of emerging talent that helped make it. All other criticisms/parodies from within the medium have either been too gentle or too steeped in their own fetishistic idiosyncracies...and yes, that includes some of my favorites like Excel Saga.
>The distinctions in art between high and low brow art are already dissipating,
No they aren't. For better or for worse, there will always be snobs to draw the line somewhere, even if it gets fuzzy, jagged, or slightly permeable in places. This is partially bad because, of course, art-snobbery is a time-honored institution of egomania -- but SOMEBODY has to keep the "low art" honest. It can't always be "the market has spoken", because we all know how dumb the market can be.