Space Oddities - June: Takashi Murakami

I decided that once a month in 2018, I’m going to take a quick trip to explore/see/do/hear something weird and unusual in the space around me. I’m calling these Space Oddities and this is June…

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As soon as I saw the previews for Takashi Murakami’s exhibit at the Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth, I knew it would be one of my Space Oddities for the year. Entitled The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, the exhibit features 50 works that cover 3 decades of the artist’s life. To say the exhibit is varied in technique, style, subject matter, or scale would be an understatement. Each turn of the corner, each turn of the room even, revealed new and interesting works that were alternatively sweet and sinister, small and large, traditional and modern. It was very cool.

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Takashi Muramaki, born in Japan, is probably best known for his pop culture collaborations with Kanye West and Louis Vuitton (remember Graduation?). He is also credited with creating the postmodern art movement known as Superflat, which refers to the lack of depth in the composition, as well as the content, of works in that style. His art is often a visual juxtaposition of ancient Japan and the modern world - Buddhist monks in swirling, psychedelic colors and mythical beasts atop platforms reminiscent of retro gaming consoles.

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There’s no escaping the manga and anime references in this exhibit. From bubbly and cute to sexually suggestive, you’ll see everything… literally everything.

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My favorite aspect of the exhibit was getting lost in the sensory overload of cheerful, vibrant, all-consuming flowers, who appear to be the mascot of Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., an art production and artist management company founded by Muramaki. Is it just me or do they remind you of the talking flowers from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse?

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If you’re looking for something fun to do on a hot Texas summer day, I can’t recommend this exhibit enough. It’s worth the time to watch the short film at the beginning of the exhibit (downstairs) as Takashi Muramaki talks about his inspiration in creating the works, as well as how the art (some of it quite large-scale) is produced by his team of artists. If you’re a planner, note that admission is free on Fridays and half-price on Sundays. And make sure to keep your eyes peeled for Mr. DOB, Muramaki’s alter ego, in the art!

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Stay tuned for July’s Space Oddities - it’s the sole reason I started this project!

Posted on July 8, 2018 and filed under Space Oddities.