Art: Throwaway Bamboo

Packaging is one of the small degradations of Western life. The impenetrable plastic pocket sealing in 290 worth of panhead screws, the jumbo detergent carton, the Vegas Rococo embossed vinyl "presentation" box around a new pen, apart from brown-paper bags (of which, in any case, we use too many) —it is hardly possible to go into the corner shop and find a package that is not ugly or delusive or frustrating or wasteful, or all four. That is why the Japan Society's current exhibition in New York, "Tsutsumu—the Art of Japanese Packaging," should not be missed. Organized and chosen by the...

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