Takashi Murakami, Klein’s Pot A, 1994–97, acrylic on canvas mounted on Masonite, 13 1/2 × 13 1/2".



Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
220 East Chicago Avenue
June 6–September 24

Curated by Michael Darling

Takashi Murakami is not just a leading interpreter of contemporary Japan’s unique collision of popular and traditional culture. His work and his persona are its very embodiment. Murakami brings to his paintings a knowledge of Japanese ukiyo-e wood-block prints and Kabuki theater, as well as an intimate engagement with nihonga painting (a discipline in which he holds a doctorate). Adapting traditional techniques and formats, Murakami fuses historical, political, and topical subject matter to forge singular contemporary canvases, some of the most ambitious of any contemporary artist. Nine of his astonishing mural-scale paintings, including the 2013 masterwork 100 Arhats, will be included in this show, but so too will many of his early abstract canvases from the 1980s and several new pieces. Dazzling in their detail and technical mastery and seductive in their Pop sensibility, Murakami’s paintings nevertheless offer a profound commentary on the darker side of human endeavor and create an unsettling fusion of past, present, and future. Travels to the Vancouver Art Gallery, January 2018; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, June 2018.