• The Associated Press


A painting of a Chinese baby holding an Oreo cookie and giant figures of a bear talking with a police officer are among the works being shown at a new museum devoted to modern art, which is opening Saturday in Tokyo.

The Mori Art Museum, shown to reporters Thursday ahead of its opening to the public, overlooks the bustling streets of downtown Tokyo from the 52nd and 53rd floors of the Roppongi Hills complex. The museum will mainly showcase contemporary works by Japanese and Asian artists, organizers said.

The inaugural exhibit, “Happiness: A Survival Guide for Art and Life,” is a collage of euphoric and whimsical Asian art from Edo Period erotic art by Hokusai to the cartoonlike smiley-face flowers splashed across a room by Takashi Murakami.

Paintings that depict Chinese people drawn in a picture-book propaganda style juxtaposed with modern items such as a Coca-Cola bottle, a hamburger and a Motorola gadget by the Luo Brothers are on display. The show also includes works by Western artists such as “Bear and Policeman” by Jeff Koons and a marble construct that has hands growing from a pink ball by Louise Bourgeois.

“The beauty of contemporary art is that you never know what it’s going to be,” said George Elliott, the museum’s director. “Art and culture are the true expression of our times.”

The museum is unusual for Japan in staying open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 10 p.m. some weekdays.

The museum will be bilingual, in English and Japanese, sponsor residencies for curators and artists, and encourage debate on contemporary art through symposiums.

“The opening of the museum marks the true completion of the round-the-clock city where you can enjoy a full and rewarding nightlife,” said Minoru Mori, chief executive of Mori Building Co., who is the Roppongi Hills developer and museum founder.

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