MFA Boston Sheds a Brand New Light on the Art of Takashi Murakami

October 24, 2017

Wishing to break the mandatory boundaries the concept of time set without giving us much of a say in the matter, the Lineage Of Eccentrics exhibition will attempt to reveal the deep connection that exists between the past and the present. To be held at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the show will do so by presenting the works of Takashi Murakami alongside the historic Japanese masterpieces taken directly from the MFA’s renowned collection. Lineage Of Eccentrics will present the viewers with the never-ending eccentricity that played a key part during the long history of Japanese art, putting an accent on the contemporary work of Takashi Murakami who keeps this tradition alive.

Top: Flower Carts / Bottom: Night Attack on the Sanjō Palace
Top: Flower Carts, 19th century, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston / Bottom: Night Attack on the Sanjō Palace, from the Illustrated Scrolls of the Events of the Heiji Era, second half of the 13th century, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Lineage Of Eccentrics

Opening this fall, Lineage Of Eccentrics will be revealing how current artists' vision can be fundamentally guided by an in-depth exploration of the past. Both in terms of the style and the narrative, Takashi Murakami owns a lot to his mentor, the eminent Japanese art historian Professor Nobuo Tsuji. By taking cues from the renowned expert, Murakami absorbed a lot of what we consider to be the norms of Japanese traditional art. The exhibition will present twelve paintings by Murakami and juxtapose them with more than thirty treasures from the MFA’s unparalleled collection of Japanese art which many consider being the finest collection of such works outside of Japan.

Lots, Lots of Kaikai and Kiki / Dragon in Clouds
Top: Takashi Murakami - Lots, Lots of Kaikai and Kiki, 2009 / Bottom Takashi Murakami - Dragon in Clouds, 2010

A Timeless Experience

Lineage Of Eccentrics is organized thematically into six sections. It will open with a comprehensive exploration of Murakami’s signature concept of Superflat. After the initial phase, the curators decided to contextualize his body of work by following Tsuji’s principles of Japanese art history: animation, kazari (ornamentation), asobi (playfulness), religiosity and eccentricity. Aside from offering a fantastic opportunity to get to know Japanese art, the exhibition will also present two never-before-seen works from Murakami’s studio - Transcendent Attacking a Whirlwind (2017) and Dragon in Clouds - Red Mutation (2010).

Shaka, the Historical Buddha / Takashi Murakami - Oval Buddha Silver
Left: Shaka, the Historical Buddha, late 10th – early 11th century, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston / Right Takashi Murakami - Oval Buddha Silver, 2008-2011

Takashi Murakami Art Exhibition At Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In many ways, Takashi Murakami is a symbol of how a melding of Japanese art and American contemporary art is, surprisingly enough, completely possible. Furthermore, his paintings carry a strong note of Japanese tradition, a feature that installs a huge dose of responsibility into this artist's work. Keeping that in mind, the upcoming show and its curators will be dedicating all their efforts to establishing a link between Takashi Murakami and the artistic legacy of Japan. Lineage Of Eccentrics is on display until April 1st, 2018, and it will be held at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA, USA.

Featured images: Soga Shōhaku - Dragon and Clouds (detail), 1763, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Two details of Night Attack on the Sanjō Palace, from the Illustrated Scrolls of the Events of the Heiji Era (detail), second half of the 13th century, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Three details of Soga Shōhaku's Dragon and Clouds, 1763, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Takashi Murakami - Dragon in Clouds - Red Mutation, 2010 (detail). All images courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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