I just came back from a two-week trip to the States. It was my first time back in Boston since 2014 and I have forgotten how much I love the city. Boston is not the largest city, or the most culturally diverse, or the most eccentric, but it has this particular charm of – as my friend Bowen put it – having at least one good place for anything. One great Korean taco joint, one great Thai place, one great taco restaurant (but no great happy hours, because happy hours against Massachusetts law)
My second to last day in Boston (right before I got snowed in and couldn’t leave for Shanghai), Bowen and I went to the Takashi Murakami exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. I love art museums and feel try to visit at least one each time I visit home. It’s also something I do together with Bowen. Last time I saw him in LA, we went to the Getty museum and the MOCA. The MFA is just so very Boston. There are recreations of colonial rooms, recreations of colonial ships, and more paintings of Paul Revere than in any other museum I’ve ever been to. But we were there for the modern art.
I truly love modern art and its ability to show us something entirely novel, while in deep conversation with the past. The Murakami exhibit was a beautiful juxtaposition of psychedelic butterflies and Heiji Scrolls from mid-13th century Japan. It showed how the humor in Japanese art was pervasive in Murakami’s work and that something so seemingly commercial can be influenced by hundreds of years of tradition. It’s also a reminder to look for the subversive elements in art that we consider traditional. These are not things I think about on an every day basis, which is what makes these sorts of museum visits so memorable.
Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics
A Collaboration with Nobuo Tsuji and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
October 18, 2017 – April 1, 2018
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Also published on Medium.