Venetian art show sparks controversy in China, prompting retaliatory block on its entry

A provocative new art exhibition in Florence, Italy, has inflamed outrage in China, where local authorities are blocking the show from entering their embassy.

Titled “Welcome, Problem Child!” and organized by a young Chinese artist named Zhang Liangyuan, the Paris-based V&A museum’s three-person team has convinced Florence’s Tate Galleries to invite his work.

The exhibit, which lasts two months, is set to open Jan. 5, after weeks of contretemps with the government of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Some of his images include unflattering depictions of other popular Italian politicians, including Silvio Berlusconi, while others comment on China’s recent turn away from the international community.

Zhang’s exhibit follows a campaign by Chinese officials who attempted to stop another museum in central France from hosting a show of Chinese contemporary art.

The exhibition has come at a fraught time for U.S.-China relations as the U.S. has engaged in trade talks with China in a bid to reduce its trade deficit with the country.

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