Japanese Artist Expected To Draw Big Crowds In Chicago

(CBS) — The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago is expecting to break attendance records with a new show called “The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg.”

The reason why is the artist behind the exhibit.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole introduces us to Takashi Murakami, often called the Andy Warhol of Japan.

The man in the colorful suit, posing with a pink octopus, attracts mobs in his native Japan.

“Are you as colorful inside as you are outside?” Gerasole asks the artist.

“Just outside,” he replies. “My inside is monochrome.”

But his work — influenced by anime and comic book art, as well as traditional Japanese painting — has made Takeshi Murakami one of the world’s leading artists.

He says he’s not sure why his work is so appreciated.

His massive murals reflect historic Japanese panels. Look close and you’ll also find something familiar in his recurring character, Mr. Dob.

Dob often transforms from whimsy to severity, such as when the character reflects the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on Japan in World War II.

Murakami collaborated with Chicago musician Kanye West on album art for “GRADUATION,” which is featured in the exhibit.

The centerpiece is an original roomful of vignettes and color entitled “The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg,” a metaphor for a frustrated workaholic of an artist searching for originality.

“I am not fun people, I’m geek,” Murakami says.

The piece was sketched and tweaked daily by Murakami and executed by the dozens of artists in his Japanese studio. To avoid surprises, curators monitored its transformations daily on social media.

“I had to follow him on Instagram,” MCA curator Michael Darling says.

The exhibit runs June 6 to Sept. 24. 

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