Flutist, oil on canvas by Chen Yifei.
Though Realism is popular among the general public, it has its critics, says Zhang Kun in Shanghai, who reports on a new show at the Long Museum.
Despite the heavyweight artworks and big name artists, Long Museum's new exhibition has met with challenges from critics.
Experiencing Simplicity: Realistic Paintings from Long Collection in Shanghai's Pudong will be held until Aug 30.
It showcases more than 50 works created by Chinese Realist artists such as Jin Shangyi, Chen Danqing, Yang Feiyun, and Chen Yifei.
The artists include respected professors and those who have fetched record prices at auctions, while many of the paintings are familiar works because of media exposure.
Yet Jia Fangzhou, curator of the show, says organizing the exhibition was a risk since Realism is frequently criticized by contemporary art critics for being little more than photographic replicas, like the portrait of a flutist by Chen Yifei.
Lyu Peng, a critic, once challenged artist Leng Jun on his meticulous painting style and asked, "What's the point?"
Jia defends Leng by saying that the artist's obsessive attention to detail may seem unnecessary, yet have strong expressive power.
"Leng's art achieves an explosive power of expression," Jia contends.