Made For China

Note from the Editor: “The Artifact” is not your conventional news source—mainly because it is not a news source at all. What this weekly Sunday article provides is a platform where world events are juxtaposed with works of art, finding echoes and similarities in the often-frictional relationship between the “real world” and the “art world.” It is the case that most works of art, abstract or representative, tend to imitate life or an aspect of it. The Artifact, complementarily, seeks to find life situations that imitate works of art already made. 

Spoiler Milk Alert

“What does Iron Man rely on to revitalize his energy?” That’s the question that Chinese moviegoers are confronted with in the opening sequence for Iron Man 3. Sure, engage fans with a little trivia before their favorite superhero kicks major Mandarin butt, right? Wrong. The answer, given in giant characters after a three-second black out, is “Gu Li Duo,” a Chinese milk drink.

Exactly: blatant product placement. And this becomes more apparent through the film as Chinese electronics maker TLC and industry giant Zoomlion also make cameos.

If this seems a little strange is because two versions of Iron Man 3 have been released: an international version and one especially for China. That’s right, the Chinese version includes about four minutes of extra footage with longer airplay by Wang Xueqi (playing Dr. Wu, who is actually shown drinking a carton of Gu Li Duo) and a special appearance by Fan Bingbing (one of China’s most popular actresses).

The reason for this Chinese pandering has to do with money (as if that’s ever a surprise). China has fastest growing-movie market, and just in the last few years it has become the second highest-grossing market behind the U.S. It used to be that China only allowed twenty foreign films (chosen at its own discretion) to be shown annually in its cinemas. But these restrictions were eased last year and Hollywood producers (apparently) are not wasting any time capitalizing on the opportunity through this blatant pandering.

Mao Zedong print by Andy Warhol

In the art world, things are no different when it comes to getting on China’s good side. “Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal,” a touring two-year exhibition that seeks to introduce Asia to the work of Andy Warhol, has omitted Warhol’s famous images of Mao Zedongfrom appearing in the exhibit. Granted, they were not so much omitted but rather banned. Over 300 works by Warhol, including his famous Campbell’s soup cans, his portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, Elvis Presley, (the largest ever collection of Andy Warhol’s work) will be on display––except, of course, ten colorful portraits of Mao that Warhol painted in the 70s.

Looks like we all need to start paying attention (and respect) to China’s growing economic markets since their spheres of influence are clearly affecting the way foreign industries make and market new products. Having said that, the following.


在艺术的世界里,事情并没有什么不同,当谈到对中国好的一面得到。 “安迪·沃霍尔:15分钟的永恒”,一个为期两年的巡回展览并寻求引进亚洲工作的安迪·沃霍尔,省去沃霍尔毛泽东著名的图像出现在展览。诚然,它没有那么多的省略,而是禁止。 300作品由沃霍尔,包括他的著名的坎贝尔汤罐,他的肖像画的玛丽莲·梦露,杰奎琳·肯尼迪,猫王的最大的有史以来收集安迪·沃霍尔的作品除了显示器上,当然,10丰富多彩的毛泽东肖像画沃霍尔在70年代画。·沃霍尔:15分钟的永恒”,一个为期两年的巡回展览并寻求引进亚洲工作的安迪·沃霍尔,省去沃霍尔毛泽东著名的图像出现在展览。

Article by Jovanny Varela-Ferreyra