Takashi Murakami

Sometimes, summer weekends are packed with stuff to do. Other weekends, they are crammed with stuff to do. But no matter what, I'm always able to make time to see the exhibit of the dude who collaborated with Kanye West to design the album cover for "Late Registration."

In "The octopus eats it's own leg" at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, a specially curated exhibit showcases the variety of Murakami's art. He has worked in both fine art and the popular culture corporate world in collaborating with Louis Vuitton, Pharrell, and other fashion designers.

Some of his art is influenced by the experiences of his parents, who were survivors of the nuclear bomb attacks in World War 2.

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Although the brightly colored wall of flowers is uplifting imagery for a viewer, Murakami himself would say that these images make him the saddest. In his mind, skulls don't represent death, but they represent a permanent state of being. Since all flowers are destined to die, the impermanence of a field of flowers is a sign of eventual decay. It resonates very well with the classic Japanese sense of aesthetic - things that are temporary are inherently more beautiful than something permanent. Sakura blossoms, fireworks, those strangely tiny meals you gotta prep: To the average Japanese person, these short lived delights provide more beauty than anything permanent.

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Murakami created an autobiographical avatar of himself named Mr. DOB. Vaguely Mickey Mouse-ish in silhouette, DOB was also inspired by some of the original icons of Japanese animation, like Doraemon.

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Check out more of Murakami's work at the MCA Chicago. The "octopus eats is own leg" will remain on exhibit until September 24, 2017. Or grab a copy of the book over at the Amazons and look at it whenever you want.

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