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Quotation from Chairman Mao

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Quotation from Chairman Mao
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Xu Bing


Quotation from Chairman Mao

Creation Date


Medium & Support

Chinese ink on paper


18 9/16 in. x 33 3/4 in. (47.15 cm x 85.73 cm)

Credit Line

Museum Purchase, with a grant from the Freeman Foundation Undergraduate Asian Studies Initiative

Accession Number



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Xu Bing presents English words as Chinese-looking characters, in a playful writing style of his own invention that he calls Square Word Calligraphy. Most English-speaking viewers will realize only upon close inspection that they are able to read the calligraphy. Once they make the effort to decipher it, they will be surprised to find another reversal implied in the quote from Mao Zedong, the founder and long-time ruler of the People’s Republic of China--the appropriation of foreign cultures for the purposes of the Communist Revolution. Xu has investigated art’s ability to communicate between cultures and ideologies since he studied woodblock printing with members of the first Chinese avant-garde at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, where he served as vice-president after a stay in New York City of eighteen years. He created this drawing in the United States.

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