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“Sometimes I think they’re all too young to remember what it was like 20 years ago,” said Australian curator-turned- academic Caroline Turner at the 3rd Asian Art Museum Directors’ Forum, held in Tokyo last week.

In fact, 20 years ago almost the only Asian art you’d find in Western museums was from before the 20th century. In the late 1980s, when Turner and others started working on what would become the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, in Brisbane, “people thought we were mad,” she said. Who would want to look at contemporary Asian art, their detractors had wondered.

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