art + design

Murakami-Inspired Octopus Takes Over the Tank

Takashi Murakami Coming to the Chicago Athletic Association hotel

JUNE 2017 – To highlight his vast and expansive collection, renowned Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami will hold his first-ever large-scale retrospective. Premiering at the Museum of Contemporary Art on June 6 and running through Sept. 24, The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, organized by the MCA’s chief curator Michael Darling, will highlight more than 50 seminal works from more than three decades taking visitors through Murakami’s anime-inspired style, which he called “Superflat.”

The cornerstone of the exhibit will be a 114-foot masterwork comprising more than 35 panels that will encompass visitors within the gallery. This multi-painting work, The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, comes from a Japanese folk saying that talks about renewal and rejuvenation. It is said that a distressed octopus can chew off a damaged tentacle, knowing another will grow in its place. Murakami takes this to reflect the years of his own work in which he works off his own past works and imagery to allow for new work to emerge.

Tying into the exhibit, the Chicago Athletic Association hotel will host a pop-up of the exhibit through July, featuring pieces from Murakami’s vast catalog and a replica of the giant pink octopus created for the artist’s Chicago show. The installation will live, appropriately, in the Tank – a former swimming pool – on the hotel’s first floor, just down the hall from Shake Shack. Additional pieces will be on display in the Milk Room gallery and the Drawing Room trophy cases. Swing by the hotel, grab a drink and immerse yourself in Murakami!

Superfans can also take advantage of a hotel stay inspired by the artist – available for booking throughout the duration of the custom Murakami display in The Tank, the Chicago Athletic Association hotel offers a summer overnight package to extend the experience for $249/night plus tax. Bookable for a one night stay through July 31, this package includes two complimentary tickets to the MCA to experience the full breadth of Murakami’s exhibition first-hand, a Murakami postcard set, with an in-room sweets amenity to end the day. Reservations can be made by visiting or calling (312) 940-3552.

Curious to learn more about Murakami’s MCA show? Tune in to or download our podcast with chief curator Michael Darling, in conversation with Ari Bendersky, via our Audio Library.

From The Vault

When the Bears Won the Super Bowl Shake Shack Delivered to Your Room! Get Ready to Mamby on the Beach! Won't You Come Have a Drink at The Dive? CAF's Lynn Osmond's Chicago – Part II Who Doesn't Love a Button Machine? What Patrick's Playing Spend Thanksgiving With Us!