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Andy Warhol’s Mao portrait censured

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The former Chinese leader Chairman Mao has been an inspiration for many Chinese painters and became an art icon since Andy Warhol created his own portrait of Mao.


Andy Warhols work has been touring Asia for the last year and has finally arrived to Shanghai at the city’s contemporary art museum. The wishes of the Chinese hosts clearly stated that Chairman Mao has to be excluded from the show. It is a little strange because his portrait is not cynical in any fashion. I would say that many Chinese painters has made worse portraits and they are not censured.


Shanghai is seeking to become an art capital on the par with many other world cities opening government funded modern and contemporary art museum. Also many private museums have opened in Shanghai. Beijing remains the cultural capital of China so it will be hard to beat that. The exhibition will head to Beijing after three months in Shanghai. I guess the Mao painting will not appear there either.

The above picture is created by artist Mu Jun, featuring Mao and Andy Warhol.

Daniel Brostrom