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Takashi Murakami at the Vancouver Art Gallery

The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg.

One of Japan’s foremost contemporary artists, 55-year-old Takashi Murakami, will bring his whimsical world to the Vancouver Art Gallery for The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, the artist’s first-ever retrospective to be presented in Canada.

As a youth, Tokyo-born Murakami wanted to be an animator but ended up focusing on a traditional style of Japanese painting, called Nihonga, in school. His later work developed in a way that combined these interests, often mixing “high” and “low” forms of art while critiquing Japan’s contemporary art movement along the way (he has accused it of borrowing too heavily from the Western world). Never one to shy away from satire or controversy, Murakami’s hugely varied career has seen him partner with the likes of Louis Vuitton and Kanye West; sell a piece of art at auction for $15.2-million (called My Lonesome Cowboy, the larger-than-life sculpture depicts an anime boy waving a lasso of ejaculate); and show his work at the Palace of Versailles, making him the first Japanese artist to do so.

The Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, curated by MCA’s Michael Darling, and is comprised of 55 career-spanning artworks. “We are thrilled to offer Canadian audiences the opportunity to experience a wide range of paintings and sculptures by one of the world’s most influential and visionary artists,” says Kathleen S. Bartels, director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. “In tracing Takashi Murakami’s development as an artist over the course of three decades, The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg draws attention to some of the major themes and cultural conditions that have shaped his artistic practice.”

Takashi Murakami’s The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg will be on at the Vancouver Art Gallery from February 3 to May 6, 2018.

This article was originally published on November 9, 2017.


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