The attitude of Warhol only confused society more. Instead of hiding his association with commercial art as other artists did, drawing and dividing the line between it and real art, he erased the line. "The Pop artists did images that anybody walking down Broadway could recognize in a split second." (Warhol) Pop artist figures competed in that art market where images and auras, no just objects, are offered for consumption. Warhol has never objected to this state of affairs, which he did so much to reveal - and indeed, to push to new extremes of sophistication. Warhol introduced society to a new kind of art that is now being recognized as real art, he pushed to boundaries and so called standards to the traditional ways. Warhol's first major display of pushing the boundaries was in 1948 at an art show given by the Pittsburgh Associated Artists his painting that he submitted was titled The Broad Gave Me My Face but I Can Pick My Own Nose, one judge thought it was excellent and another thought it was vulgar and coarse.
It hung in the 'reject's ection but drew a huge crowd of admiring students. From that he felt that he was ready to take on the art scene in New York. Warhol's approach to the modern way of art was mass production of everyday items. He was very successful as a commercial artist but was not considered a 'real' artist. Andy wanted his art to look impersonal and mechanical. He discovered the use of silkscreen and how it produced slight mistakes and unevenness in his repetitive style of art.
He produced his most famous pieces of art after he found silk screening, he was on an inspirational high. He produced the Campbell's Soup Can series in 1962 and the more famous prints of Marilyn Monroe in 1964. To expand Andy's finances, Fred Hughes encouraged him to concentrate on his paintings. Andy's Swiss dealer, Bruno Bischofberger, thought Andy should paint a series on a world leader for an exhibit at his gallery. He suggested Albert Einstein. Andy thought that Chairman Mao, the dictator of China, would be a better choice.
"I've been reading so much about China... the only picture they ever have is of Mao Zedong. It's great. It looks like a silkscreen." (Warhol, p.
117 price of pop) Bruno insisted that on one, especially Americans, would but them, since Mao was a widely hated communist. As usual Andy stuck to his instincts and set out to silkscreen a set of prints, line drawings, and paintings of the Chinese leader. Mao symbolized power over the lives of billions of people. Although, if Andy had lived in communist China during the Cultural Revelation, he most likely would have been imprisoned. Mao suppressed creativity, especially in the arts. But Andy felt sure that capitalist American collectors would find the images of Chairman Mao, both alien and familiar at the same time, irresistible.
Based on the official photograph of Mao, the portraits were done in a freer brushstroke than previous paintings, with a looser background of color over which the image was printed. By adding lines around the face for emphasis, Warhol tried to make Mao as glamorous as his portraits of Marilyn. He also produced a series of Mao wallpaper similar to the Cow Wallpaper at Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris in 1965. Warhol emphasized the hand-painted part of his work, stressed the brush stoke at the cost of the printing technique, by partially integrating oil painting into his silkscreen pictures and played down the mechanical effect. But the subject of this series of portraits was taken from the official photograph print of the almighty party leader, which hung on every Chinese wall. But the studies differ from one another in color as well as in compositions and the selection of detail.
By means of a lighter colored background and the contrast of colors generates a kind of halo. In Warhol's eyes this charismatic politician ranks with stars, superstars, and megastars - for in the wake of the student revolution of 1968 Mao has become a cult figure. His popularity in the Western world, the passionate enthusiasm he had kindled among certain young demonstrators in America and Europe was enough for Warhol to portray the Chinese leader. It was not the historical importance of this figure that stirred Warhol's interest, but his reception in Western capitalist society. Mao has become a socio-psychological symbol of a certain outlook on life.