The MCA fêtes 50 years with an ode to the boundary-bending Takashi Murakami.
Detail from Magic Ball II (1999) by Takashi Murakami.
Andy Warhol unabashedly embraced art as commodity, but for all his appropriation and mass-production (not to mention the inarticulate asides that pulled the carpet from under fans and foes alike), there’s no doubt he took Pop seriously. Takashi Murakami, a master marketer whose work is so purely of the man and the moment, is something else again. Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Museum of Contemporary Art gives the happily transgressive Japanese artist a show as expansive as his ambition: Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats His Own Leg.
Drawing from cartoons, anime, and a geeky subculture often centered on infantile sexual expression, Murakami—not short of cryptic comments himself—may well be the most product-driven artist of all. After all, the man has done an album cover and video for Kanye West, and lent his visual style to Louis Vuitton. “When he issues pillows or handbags, that gets the art establishment uncomfortable,” observes MCA curator Michael Darling. “That does take a swipe at all the rules fine art has created to maintain its exclusivity, but when you look again at a painting of his, you are back in a state of awe. He has found a way to have it both ways.” June 6 through September 24, 220 E. Chicago Ave., 312-280-2660