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The art on display in “From the 11th Chinese National Art Exhibition 2009: Contemporary Fine Art from China” at the Nara Prefectural Museum of Art is of a different species than the headline-grabbing pieces that have propelled Chinese art into a much sought-after commodity frequently at the forefront of art-world conversations.

It is remote from the work of artists such as Zhu Yu, who claims to have eaten child fetuses in his performances, or the fireworks of Cai Guo-Qiang. Instead, here is art that acts as if Modernism, or anything more recent, never occurred and is, in essence, a contemporary social realism.

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