Andy Warhol ‘Mao’, 1973

“Warhol used Mao’s notoriety to his own advantage by presenting the leader’s monumental image to the Western public as a figure of fun.” (J. Spring, “Andy Warhol: Fame and Misfortune”, Andy Warhol: Fame and Misfortune, San Antonio, 2012, p. 21)

Contemporary art specialist and Head of the Evening Sale, Zach Miner, presents Andy Warhol’s ‘Mao’, 1973. Though it would be tempting to appreciate this work only for its beautiful tones and rich textural variations, it is impossible to ignore Warhol’s acerbic political commentary resulting from the coloring of the picture. Warhol exploits the received American idea of Red Terror to the benefit of painting’s visual impact. In addition to the explicit coloring of his clothing, Warhol covers Mao’s face in what appears to be make-up, reminiscent of his famous Liz and Marilyn paintings. Warhol’s portrait contains as much scathing cultural criticism as it does painterly innovation.


Produced by Phillips de Pury & Company (2012)
Camera: Matt Kroening
Editor: Matt Kroening
Original Music: Sameer Kapoor
Producer: Megan Newcome


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