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Sometimes the pen really is mightier than the sword — not only when it is deployed to capture in words the loftiest philosophical ruminations, but also when, through pictures, it causes heroes to tremble and fall. For skilled satirists, trenchant humor is a potent tool.

The Tokyo-based, Scottish artist Jack McLean is a master of a certain kind of super-dry satire, whose mischievousness is on view at The Container, a small, alternative-space gallery in the capital’s Nakameguro district. In just a few years, this replica of a metal shipping container, installed inside a hip haircutting salon, has become a much-watched venue for conceptual and other forms of contemporary art.

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