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What Would Julian Rafael Hassan Roden Do?

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Takashi Murakami "The Octopus Eats His Own Leg" Art Retrospective Review

I like many others became familiar with Takashi Murakami through his collaboration with Kanye West during his Graduation phase/period. I thought it was nice and the album cover he did for Ye was a great evolution for his bear mascot while he still used him. I got familiar with his little smilely flowers cause I saw them popping up all over pop culture, but I never really dug deeper or knew about the scale and experience Takashi Murakami has as an Artist until his career spanning exhibtion came to the Mueseum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

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In a word this show was fucking bizarre. At first I was in utter awe because of all the machine like fine lines and the scale of the Art. But then as I got towards the end of the show I started to realize that this was not the work of one man. I later went home to research and confirm what I had already knew: Murakami has a workshop of assistants doing the bulk of the work such grand objects usually require. It did make the show less impressive, I have to be honest. The fact he doesn't do all the Art work himself takes the esoteric value away from the pieces for me. You know that weird feeling of connection you get when standing face to face with the genius's brush strokes? Yeah, that was not there for me after learning this fact. This makes Murakami no different than Jeff Koons (which I hear is the latest "Artist" to have a show at the MCA). He's more of an Illustrator/Designer. Nothing wrong with that, it's just that the depth of the work suffers because of the lack of connection he has with it. At least to me and many other critics. It's very easy to say what you want done and if you have money and a vision pointing & having that thing done. Once I was told I'm a better Artist than Damien Hirst for this specific reason; that no matter the scale there's a personal element missing from the work and it shows.

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Honestly I don't hate the player, I just hate the game. I was impressed, then underwhelmed cause I felt like I was at an amusement park and not an Art exhibition. None of the work made me feel, and whereas I don't dislike the work it did not illicit an emotional response other than, "Damn I'm mad as fuck a Japanese Artist has this much access in Chicago and I don't". But the white folks determine who's who in the "Art World" (Hate that phrase) and who's work is worth millions and museum residencies. Artist have very little say in their own destiny's. But I think Murakami has ample and is exercising his just, but privileged stance in the realm of expression by merchandising and spreading his Artistic lore as far as he has. I have never seen such attention garnered by any Art show in Chicago and for all his effort that was quite a feat, no matter if his hands didn't get as dirty as I would have liked.

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Julian Roden