Artifact: Warhol Goes to China

Credit: Shai OhayonCredit: Shai OhayonThis looks a lot like a Godfrey Kneller portrait of William III painted in the 17th century, but it’s actually a copy of Kneller painted the other day in a sweatshop in Dafen, China. The painter, who received less than $1 for the portrait, is one of thousands of artists who have converged on Dafen’s many art factories, where they each paint up to 30 replicas during a 16-hour day. Dafen’s output is sold in places such as Wal-Mart, which recently commissioned 50,000 copies made in China. London’s Fulham Palace mounted a show of such canvases this year to call attention to “a shocking form of sweatshop labour.”

If only Andy Warhol could have attended. In the 1960s, Warhol called his Manhattan atelier The Factory, declared that he wanted to become an art “machine,” and made a theme of the mass reproduction of familiar images, from soup cans to the Mona Lisa.

Warhol, of course, was an ironist trying to subvert the status of art. There’s nothing subversive about Dafen’s factories, or its machine-like copyists. Yet China has outdone Warhol, dispensing with art’s status entirely.

By the way, Dafen’s copyists do the Mona Lisa, too, and some of them now copy contemporary Western painters. Maybe we’ll soon have Chinese versions of Warhol’s Mona Lisa silkscreens, thus dispensing with irony altogether.

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  • ||

    I recall an Antiques Roadshow episode from some years back where someone brought in a portrait of George Washington that the appraiser identified as a Chinese copy, one of thousands produced for export back in the early 1800s.

    They've been at this a while...

  • ||

    I hope the Thomas Kinkaid (i.e. The Painter of Blight TM) knock-offs will be ready before Christmas. His stuff is way over priced. Some chinese competition should bring his prices down.

  • ||

    I doubt if Andy would mind, as long as they don't start reproducing his work. Warhols are sacred, after all. (I used to wonder why other people didn't paint Campbell's soup cans, etc. Why not?)

  • fishmonger||

    who the fuck cares?

  • shecky||

    Cranking out almost two paintings an hour. Boggles the mind that someone can do such things, this from someone who can barely draw stick men. And still presumably be profitable enough to compete with, say, poster reproductions. I'm curious, do these paintings actually look nice in real life, or do they look like something cranked out in a half hour?

  • ||

    Maybe we'll soon have Chinese versions of Warhol's Mona Lisa silkscreens, thus dispensing with irony altogether.

    I think copyright laws come into play there. But public domain stuff, why should I concern myself? It's arguably an improvement over this.

  • Eric Dondero||

    Sorry for butting in on this thread, but Fox News just reported that Troy Stanley, the Hostage Taker at the Hillary Clinton for President HQ in New Hampshire is a "Libertarian."

    The say he was ranting against the government and "hated Democrats and Republicans."

  • Episiarch||

    who the fuck cares?

    This is a very good question.

  • Episiarch||

    Sorry for butting in on this thread, but Fox News just reported that Troy Stanley, the Hostage Taker at the Hillary Clinton for President HQ in New Hampshire is a "Libertarian."

    This is the proof that Fox has it out for Dr. Paul!

  • ||

    This is the proof that Fox has it out for Dr. Paul!

    No, but it is evidence that we attract our share of nut cases.

  • Eric Dondero||

    They're also reporting that he "lived in the woods," and has a history of mental problems. His ex-wife says "he's off his meds."

    They were not specific about his Libertarian ties. Not sure if it was with the Ron Paul Campaign or the Free State Project.

  • ||

    No, but it is evidence that we attract our share of nut cases.

    J sub D,
    So is the third post above your own.

  • dbust1||

    All in jest, I think a nutcase claiming affiliation with a movement, group, whatever, lends a sort of legitimacy to that orginization.

  • ||

    Fuck. Evel Knievel died. What a way to start the weekend.

  • ||

    Eric Dondero | November 30, 2007, 4:56pm | #
    Sorry for butting in on this thread, but Fox News just reported that Troy Stanley, the Hostage Taker at the Hillary Clinton for President HQ in New Hampshire is a "Libertarian."


    Wow, a wackjob like that must be one of those "Mainstream Libertarians" I keep hearing about.

  • ||

    Did Kanye West kill Knievel?

    He was just at his home.
    http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/story/380712.html

  • ||

    NoStar,

    Yeah, and Knievel was just on the Jim Rome Show this week to clear up something he once said about one of the engineers on the Snake River jump. I think he knew the end was near and wanted to tie up some loose ends.

  • ||

    Knievel used to live in my hometown. He was notorious for having robbed the ELKS club and leading the sheriff on a ride through the sand dunes on his motorcycle.

    He fought the law but the law one.

  • ||

    By my guestimate, today's Ron Paul money-bomb has raised over a half a million dollars to put him well over the 10 million mark.

    Most non money-bomb days run between 90 and 100K in donations.

  • ||

    He fought the law and the law won.

  • ||

    So is the third post above your own.

    I don't point out that the sun rises in the east either. ;-)

  • Dustin||

    The NH suspect's name is Leeland Eisenberg. Just been arrested. Not sure where Donderoo and Fox got "Troy Stanley."

  • Eric Dondero||

    More evidence of Eisenberg/Leland's ties to libertarian or at least constitutionalist movement.

    From the AP just released...

    Eisenberg made local headlines in March when he held a news conference on the steps of Rochester City Hall to complain about a police policy of placing fliers in unlocked cars warning motorists to lock their doors. "This is nothing more than a gimmick to get around the Constitution and go around in the middle of the night upon unsuspecting citizens in their own yard and search their vehicles," Eisenberg said.

  • ||

    Eric,

    Something has made me wonder about you and libertarianism. Are you thinking that if the libertarian tag can get attached to a winning candidate it will ultimately be good for the cause? Is that why you are determined to smear Ron Paul, who has no chance of winning squat, in order to paint Rudy as the more libertarian candidate?

  • ||

    They're also reporting that he "lived in the woods," and has a history of mental problems.



    Oh, well you two would get along fantastically, then.

  • dhex||

    donderlolz donderlolz
    friendly neighborhood donderlolz

    hey eric did you know eric harris, one of the columbine killers, was named eric?

    we all know what this means.

  • ||

    I wonder whether the title of "Libertarian" was tacked on the guy by Fox because he "didn't like Republicans or Democrats."
    On the other hand, self-identified Libertarians contain their share of wackos....(um, and you might have thought twice about running a presidential candidate that thinks License Plates are Evil. If the average American has the impression that Libertarians are nuts, look at who you've been putting forth as the public face of the party.)

  • Late to the party||

    License plates are evil? Did Badnarak say this?

  • nfl jerseys||

    drsd

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