Andy Warhol’s famous images of Chairman Mao won’t be part of the biggest ever traveling exhibition of his works when they go to China next year, an organizer said.
The show includes more than 300 paintings, photographs and films, featuring Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s Soup cans, Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe as well as 10 Mao paintings which Chinese authorities have decided to exclude.
If mainland fans of Warhol want to see silkscreens of the Great Helmsman, they will have to catch the Hong Kong leg of “Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal” which opened yesterday.
“They said the Maos won’t work,” Eric Shiner, director of The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, said in an interview in Hong Kong. “This is disappointing because his imagery is so mainstream in Chinese contemporary art.”
A person familiar with the show, who asked not to be named because of the political sensitivity of the issue, confirmed the Mao works had been rejected by the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t immediately respond to faxed questions seeking comment today.
The exhibition which opened first in Singapore, and runs through to March 31 at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, will then travel to Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo, as part of a 26-month Asian tour to mark the 25th anniversary of Warhol’s death.