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Evil Octopodes*

Fred W. Rose, “Serio-Comic War Map For The Year 1877," 1877

Takashi Murakami titled his exhibition The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg after the Japanese proverb tako ga jibun no ashi wo kurau, which describes the push and pull of creative output for the artist, or survival through self-sacrifice. In the West, however, the imagery of the octopus is more sinister. Hyperallergic tracked down nefarious visions of octopuses taking over the world, the US government, or London. On Facebook, our followers have provided additional examples, such as spy satellites. Below, see some of the ways Murakami has interpreted the octopus for his exhibition at the MCA, and how they also reveal the artist's pull between East and West.


Determining the plural form ofoctopus* sparked an MCA-wide debate. Learn more about the animal's proper pluralization on Merriam-Webster or BuzzFeed.