Vancouver Art Gallery to host contemporary artist Takashi Murakami's first-ever retrospective in Canada

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      The Vancouver Art Gallery has announced that it will host Canada’s first-ever Takashi Murakami retrospective, which runs from February 3 to May 6, 2018.

      Featuring 55 of the contemporary artist’s pieces—some of them never-before-seen—the exhibition, titled The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, will showcase three decades of Murakami’s career and his evolution from perceived pop artist to internationally renowned icon.

      The three-month-long show will include paintings and sculptures, many of which reflect upon modern society in Murakami’s homeland of Japan, as well as a five-metre-tall sculpture and two multi-panel paintings that are being crafted exclusively for the VAG. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg will also explore the influence of traditional Japanese painting and Buddhist folklore in Murakami’s work and his musings on media culture, globalization, the threat of nuclear power, and other issues facing Japan and the wider public today.

      727 by Takashi Murakami.
      Courtesy of Vancouver Art Gallery / Tom Powell Imaging

      “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,” said Kathleen S. Bartels, director of the VAG, in a press statement. “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.”

      Often touted as the Andy Warhol of Japan, Murakami is known for his arresting and supercharged pieces that blur the lines between art and commercialism. As a leader in the “superflat” tradition—a post-war, manga-inspired movement that sees little distinction between “high” and “low” art—he has also collaborated with a number of celebrated designers, musicians, and artists during his career.

      Most notably, his bright, cartoonish paintings appeared on Louis Vuitton products from 1997 to 2015 and he produced the cover art for Kanye West’s 2007 album Graduation. In addition, Murakami curated the VAG’s Juxtapoz x Superflat exhibition last year, which presented a “cute meets grotesque” assortment of works that followed the artist’s “superflat” premise.

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