"Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics," the latest exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, combines the quirky works of the renowned Japanese artist with the historic Japanese masterpieces that came before him.
Murakami is a pop culture icon who has worked with several big names like Louis Vuitton and Pharrell, plus he created the cover art for Kanye West’s album, “Graduation.” This collaboration between Murakami, Japanese art historian Nobuo Tsuji and curator Anne Nishimura Morse highlights artistic vision from past to present.
If the colorful ads all over the city haven’t already gotten you to check it out, here are five reasons why should take a trip over to the MFA to see “Lineage of Eccentrics."
1. Old meets new
The MFA has the most expansive collection of Japanese art outside of Japan, which makes it the best place in the country to compare Murakami’s work with the historical pieces that inspired him. There are over 30 works from the MFA’s Japanese collection included in “Lineage of Eccentrics” alone.
2. Massive masterpieces
In the last room of the exhibit hangs a 59-foot composition titled “Dragon in Clouds—Red Mutation." The piece was created by Murakami in just 24 hours as response to a “Battle Royale”-style challenge from his mentor, Professor Tsuji. In the same room you’ll find the piece it’s inspired by, “Dragon and Clouds,” a 35-footwork created by Soga Shōhaku in 1763. Murakami likes to think of himself as Shōhaku’s “spiritual heir.”
3. Boston homecoming
Murakami’s first major exhibition in the U.S. occured at the MFA in 2001. A combination of that exhibit and seeing some of the museum’s touring shows in Japan exposed him to a lot of the impressive Japanese collection and inspired some of his future work. Direct comparisons can be seen at the current show. When you stop by, check out the similarities between Murakami’s “Oval Buddha Silver,” which he worked on from 2008 to 2011 and “Shaka, the Historical Buddha,” which was created sometime between the late 10th to early 11th centuries.
4. A rare glimpse into the past
Some rarely displayed works are featured in the show. Be sure to get a look at the 23-foot long “Night Attack on the Sanjō Palace,” which was completed in the second half of the 13th century and is known as the most powerful battle scene in all of Japanese art.
5. Take a selfie
The exhibit gives you the best selfie spot in the city. The MFA’s social media pages have been blowing up with photos taken in “Kawaii—Vacances: Summer Vacation in the Kingdom of the Golden” room. The piece was originally designed by Murakami as part of a display at Versailles in 2010. If you share your photo using the hashtag #mfaMurakami, you might win a limited-edition print signed by the artist.
If you go:
Now through April 1, 2018, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., mfa.org