It makes sense, culturally, that Pop Art’s two most famous progeny were American and Japanese, respectively. But as Keith Haring left this mortal world in 1990, it would be Takashi Murakami alone who would live on and realize the Warhol-like fame that was so much a “strategy” of the original movement (Warhol superstar Ultra Violet told BlackBook in 2011 that Andy’s real goal was “that when he walked down the street, he wanted people to say, ‘Here walks the most famous person down the street.’”)
Murakami is virtually that famous in Japan; but, partly by virtue of his collaborations with Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton (which began in 2002) he has come to enjoy such global recognition as to warrant blockbuster exhibitions of his work around the world (Paris, Bilbao, Doha). And the Vancouver Art Gallery will be the first to grant him that honor in Canada, when a spectacular, landmark survey of his oeuvre, charmingly titled The Octopus Eats its Own Leg, opens there on February 3 of next year.
The retrospective will greatly on focus on Murakami as a painter, and feature rarely seen early works from the 80s; it will also explore the influences of Japanese painting and Buddhist folklore on his work. But most excitingly for true devotees, the show will also flaunt a pair of exclusive multi-panel paintings created just for this exhibition.
The Octopus… will run through May 6, a perfect excuse to make a late-winter, early spring weekend excursion to Vancouver.
Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect.