The worlds of pop culture, folklore and art join together for the Museum of Contemporary Art's eye-popping retrospective Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg. Displaying over 50 works that represent three decades of Murakami's groundbreaking career, some for the first time in North America, the exhibit supplies a riveting look at how the artist blurs the lines and boundaries of traditional art.

Murakami Exhibit

With traditional Japanese painting and folklore as the foundation, Murakami borrows from an anime, pop art and manga–inspired style that he calls "Superflat." Characters with huge eyes and jagged teeth peer out of many vividly colored paintings, but the Murakami hallmark is Mr. DOB, a stylized mouse that serves as part self-portrait, part iconic logo. Other highlights include the 114-foot masterwork that's the inspiration for the show's title.

"The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg" is a new collection of paintings that are composed of 35 panels that surround the entire gallery and reference a Japanese folk saying about rejuvenation, in which an octopus will chew off a damaged leg, knowing that a new one will grow in its place.

Murakami Exhibit

Murakami Exhibit

Takashi Murakami

"The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg" exhibit runs June 6–September 24, 2017.

The Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E. Chicago Avenue
(312) 397-4000
Suggested admission: $15/adults; $8 students/teachers/seniors


  • Tue 10 a.m.9 p.m.
  • Wed–Thu 10 a.m.5 p.m.
  • Fri 10 a.m.9 p.m.
  • Sat–Sun 10 a.m.5 p.m.
  • Mon Closed


Photo Credits
Images 1-3: Installation view, Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg, MCA Chicago, June 6 – September 24, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Image 4: Takashi Murakami, Photo: Maria Ponce Berre, © MCA Chicago.