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A Great Leap Backward


A new wave of young Chinese artists are projecting Chairman Mao's gruesome legacy through the soft-focus lens of kitsch. Sadly, though unsurprisingly, this whitewashed, "Everybody Loves Mao!" approach is proving wildly popular among America's nouveau billionaire art collectors.

Weighing in on this flip-is-the-new-reflective trend, TNR's resident art critic Jed Perl argues that the paintings are little more than "expensive propaganda"  that fall neatly in line with "the current Chinese regime's efforts to sell itself as the authoritarian power that everybody can learn to love...This is radical chic with blood on its hands."  Perl points out that not only are these paintings willfully apologist, they're also, aesthetically speaking, not good. For your viewing pleasure, a slideshow showcasing this baffling and expensive trend.

--Bess Kalb