Photo Gallery: Takashi Murakami’s “octopus” exhibition at MCA Chicago

Art Radar runs an exclusive photo gallery of Takashi Murakami’s latest show in the United States.

Running at MCA in Chicago until this Sunday 24 September 2017, the major retrospective of the Japanese artist showcases more than three decades of Murakami’s works from his earliest to his most mature.

Takashi Murakami, 2017. Photo: Maria Ponce Berre. © MCA Chicago.

Takashi Murakami, 2017. Photo: Maria Ponce Berre. © MCA Chicago.

Many of the works which have been on display at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) since 6 June 2017 have never before been shown in North America. “Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg” has indeed been a major retrospective for the Japanese artist in the United States, and has recently, as announced on 21 September by MCA, officially broken the David Bowie attendance record of 193,000, making it the all-time highest attended exhibition in the MCA’s 50-year history.

The exhibition is curated by MCA Chief Curator Michael Darling, who said in regards to setting a new attendance record for the museum that “The audiences for this show have been amazing, incredibly youthful and diverse with an enthusiastic thirst for all that Murakami produces.”

Takashi Murakami, 'Super Nova', 1999, acrylic on canvas mounted on board, 7 panels, 118 x 59 in (300 x 150 cm) each, overall 118 in. x 413 in (299.72 x 1049.02 cm). Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan, fractional and promised gift to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. © 1999 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Jeffrey Wells Photography, Aurora, Colorado.

Takashi Murakami, ‘Super Nova’, 1999, acrylic on canvas mounted on board, 7 panels, 118 x 59 in (300 x 150 cm) each, overall 118 in. x 413 in (299.72 x 1049.02 cm). Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan, fractional and promised gift to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. © 1999 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Jeffrey Wells Photography, Aurora, Colorado.

Takashi Murakami is known for his highly imaginative work, which has proved successfull in both the art world and commercial spheres, with collaborations with pop icons such as Kanye West and fashion house Louis Vuitton. Murakami has invented the term Superflat used to refer to the style of art he creates, inspired by anime and popular culture. Superflat art pairs traditional Japanese painting techniques with a contemporary, animé-inspired aesthetic within a flattened picture plane. Murakami’s work blurs the boundaries between high and low, ancient and modern, eastern and western art, and features what MCA calls “a colorful cast of characters inspired by folklore, art history, and popular culture”.

Takashi Murakami, 'Dragon In Clouds—Indigo Blue', 2010, acrylic on canvas mounted on board, 143 x 708 5/8 in (363 x 1,800 cm). Collection of Larry Gagosian. © 2010 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Gavin Ashworth.

Takashi Murakami, ‘Dragon In Clouds—Indigo Blue’, 2010, acrylic on canvas mounted on board, 143 x 708 5/8 in (363 x 1,800 cm). Collection of Larry Gagosian. © 2010 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Gavin Ashworth.

The current exhibition comprises over 50 works, including monumental paintings and sculptures. For this show, Murakami has created a new group of paintings shown for the first time, including The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, a 114-foot masterwork made up of over 35 panels that surround visitors in the gallery. The title of this work and the exhibition is taken from a Japanese folk saying that hints at the process of rejuvenation. As MCA explains,

An octopus in distress can chew off a damaged leg to ensure survival, knowing that a new one will grow in its place. Similarly, Murakami often feeds off his own prior imagery, or that of Japanese history, in order for new work to emerge.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

Takashi Murakami, 'Release Chakra’s gate at this instant', 2008, acrylic and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on wood panel, 63 x 138 in (160.1 x 351 cm). Private Collection. © 2008 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

Takashi Murakami, ‘Release Chakra’s gate at this instant’, 2008, acrylic and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on wood panel, 63 x 138 in (160.1 x 351 cm). Private Collection. © 2008 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

Takashi Murakami, 'ZuZaZaZaZaZa', 1994, acrylic and silkscreen on canvas mounted on board, 59 x 67 in (149.8 x 170.1 cm). Takahashi Collection. © 1994 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Norihiro Ueno.

Takashi Murakami, ‘ZuZaZaZaZaZa’, 1994, acrylic and silkscreen on canvas mounted on board, 59 x 67 in (149.8 x 170.1 cm). Takahashi Collection. © 1994 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Norihiro Ueno.

"Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg", 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

“Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”, 6 June 6 – 24 September 2017, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay. © MCA Chicago.

 

Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg” is on show from 6 June to 24 September 2017 at MCA Chicago, USA.

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Related Topics: Japanese artists, Superflat art, museum shows, events in the United States, photo galleries

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