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Updated 9:00 AM March 20, 2009

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Don't miss: Legendary Mao painting
is subject of Inaugural Stern Lecture

In 1967 at the height of the Cultural Revolution, the oil painting "Chairman Mao Goes to Anyuan" created by a young art student was hailed as exemplary revolutionary art. With over 900 million copies printed for circulation shortly after, the painting remains arguably the best-known representation of Mao and has acquired an iconic status.

The story comes to life at 4:10 p.m. March 31 as Xiaobing Tang presents an Inaugural Lecture as the Helmut F. Stern Professor of Chinese Studies, "On the Making of a Pop Icon: Chairman Mao Goes to Anyuan and Chinese Contemporary Art.''

Xiaobing will reconstruct the making of this symbolic image and its tumultuous reception. He also will discuss a series of revisions that contemporary Chinese artists have made of the historical painting. The fate of this visual icon offers a good opportunity to reflect on the many changes in Chinese society and culture.

"Mao continues to be a presence in contemporary China, because he was more than a politician," Xiaobing says. "This painting brings together politics, art, culture, and society. Images are important to our understanding of modern Chinese history and society."

The lecture and reception at the Rackham Amphitheatre, sponsored by LSA, are free and open to the public.

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