The New New

One of two exhibits highlighting recent acquisitions at SAAM, “The New New” is the more accessible gallery, featuring works from the ’50s to the present decade. Local artist Akio Takamori’s ceramic Sleeper dozes in the middle of the floor, oblivious to changing times. Chinese painter Xue Song frames a traditional scroll landscape in the outline of a purple Coke bottle—the ancient East in a new Western vessel. From Japan, Miwa Yanagi’s staged photo of a red-haired, motorcycle-riding grandmother on the Golden Gate Bridge dominates the room; it’s like a still from some road-trip movie. But a humble, brown-paper shopping bag, intricately snipped by Yuken Teruya, speaks with more quiet authority. He’s cut foliage and branches from one panel, then reassembled them, origami-style, into a tree within the bag. Lying on its side, the untitled work is like a tiny stage set, with shadows cast through the stencils cut above. Wave your hand over the enclosure, blocking the gallery spotlights, and you see the changing seasons—the tree is bare on one side, leafy on the other. It’s a traditional Japanese theme, the cycles of life, reiterated in Teruya’s materials and method. Nothing is added to the bag, itself made of recycled wood products, and nothing is taken away. BRIAN MILLER

Thursdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Wednesdays, Fridays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: Dec. 17. Continues through Nov. 28, 2009

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