On June 3, the Museum of Contemporary Art hosted ArtEdge 50, a gala to celebrate the museum’s 50th anniversary and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s new exhibit, Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg. The MCA, which has brought Chicagoans the coolest and most cutting-edge modern artwork for the last 50 years, called on Murakami to celebrate the landmark anniversary. In addition to the new group of paintings that were revealed for the first time, a 114-foot work consisting of more than 35 panels dazzled the crowd. And if you’re wondering about the inspiration behind the exhibit’s eccentric name, it stems from Japanese folklore regarding the process of rejuvenation. An octopus with a damaged leg can chew it off to make sure it survives, with a new one subsequently growing in its place.
The special evening gathered together more than 600 of Chicago’s most prominent socialgoers for a first look at the brilliant new exhibition and were treated to a performance by lauded singer and actress Janelle Monae, who was personally tapped for the gig by musical curator Pharrell Williams. Kicking off the night was a cocktail hour that featured caipirinha cocktails with dragon fruit garnish and a sushi roll station displaying edible octopus, followed by an elegant dinner that featured a commemorative 50th anniversary video that celebrated the founders of the museum. Pritzker Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Madeleine Grynsztejn, spoke about the importance of the night and the funds raised for the museum. Takashi Murakami was also honored for his work as a contemporary artist.
The unforgettable night raised over $3 million, with all proceeds going toward future MCA exhibits, education programs and performances.
To find out more about Takashi Murakami’s exhibit, on display from June 6 through Sept. 24, visit MCAChicago.org.