Mao Decorated

Mao Decorated

Youhan Yu, Chinese, 1943-
Born: Shanghai, China
Work Locations: Shanghai, China
Acrylic paint on canvas
Gift from Vicki and Kent Logan to the Collection of the Denver Art Museum
Youhan Yu (Chinese). Mao Decorated. 1993. Acrylic paint on canvas. Gift from Vicki and Kent Logan to the Collection of the Denver Art Museum. 2001.884.
sight height: 46 1/8 in, 117.1575 cm; sight width: 38 1/4 in, 97.1550 cm; frame height: 50 in, 127.0000 cm; frame width: 42 in, 106.6800 cm; frame depth: 2 in, 5.0800 cm
Bottom right "1993" with calligraphy next to it.
Modern and Contemporary Art
Modern and Contemporary Art

Yu Youhan is a key figure in the first generation of artists who emerged after Mao’s Cultural Revolution and has been singled out as the leader of the so-called Political Pop movement of the late 1980s. Political Pop was the first recognizably contemporary style to come out of China, and it attracted a great deal of attention. 

The artist adapted a pop style overlaid with cynicism to convey feelings about the social and political environment in China. Mao Decorated represents one of the earliest in his Mao portrait series. Here the artist has strewn flowers over Mao’s face, an allusion to the remote peasant environment to which many intellectuals had been banished. It is also an ironic reference to Mao’s principle that art be both for the pleasure of the masses and for political instruction.

© Yu Youhan

Exhibition History
  • "Full Frontal: Contemporary Asian Artists from the Logan Collection"—Denver Art Museum, 10/07/2006 - 07/15/2007

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