Newly Installed Sculpture of Lenin and Mao in Downtown San Antonio Sparks Online Discussion

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine grabs headlines, a sculpture depicting communist leaders Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong has arrived in San Antonio.

Even before it was installed downtown, the artwork – a gleaming steel bust of Lennon with a tiny Mao balanced on his head – was garnering comments online.

Titled “Miss Mao trying to stand on top of Lenin’s head”, the sculpture was installed in the 300 block of Commerce Street on property owned by developer James Lifshutz. It sits in the courtyard of a building across from the new Texas Public Radio headquarters at the Alameda Theater.

The sculpture is part of Centro San Antonio’s Art Everywhere program, which aims to increase the amount of art downtown.

“Miss Mao” was created by the Gao brothers, Chinese brothers and sisters based in Beijing. They have shown their work all over the world. He often criticizes Chinese communism.

The sculpture generated a long discussion on the Texas Freedom Coalition’s Facebook page and more than 100 comments on an Express-News Instagram post about the installation. Either way, most posters dispute the content or timing of the piece’s installation.

The acquisition of the coin has been in the works for months, long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Most posts don’t say if the writers have seen the sculpture in person.

In the comments to the Express-News Instagram post, a poster with the handle Javalin1000 wrote, “This doesn’t belong in San Antonio…take this trash back to Moscow or Beijing, especially now.” Very disappointing.” Meme.n.cheese.taco wrote, “Because nothing says San Antonio like a chrome Lenin head.” And the South Texas guy wrote, “We shouldn’t have this in our town .

“Miss Mao Trying to Stand on Top of Lenin’s Head” is located in a courtyard on the 300 block of Commerce Street downtown.

Kin Man Hui / Personal Photographer

A few comments here and there defend the work. Wyliepainterly wrote, “The sculpture is satirical,” and Paytongkane wrote, “Do any of you understand symbolism or modern art? This piece is a critique of communism.

On Twitter, reader Andy Thomas remarked on a link to the Express-News story that he had searched for the artwork to see it for himself. He wrote that it is hidden in a “bad site for a great piece of art”, adding “Even if someone knows it, it may be difficult to find. Please move it to Commerce Street so that it can be widely seen.

“Miss Mao trying to stand on top of Lenin’s head” by artists Gao Zhen and Gao Qiang – a giant stainless steel sculpture of Mao balancing on Lenin’s head – has been installed in downtown San Antonio .

Kin Man Hui / Personal Photographer

An Express-News Facebook post about the sculpture was widely shared via a handful of pages, including the Texan Conservatives group and the Texas Freedom Coalition, which defines itself as “a network of activists advocating for constitutional government.” .

Many people commenting on the Texas Freedom Coalition message were offended by the subjects of the artwork. “I’m offended and want it torn down,” Susan Shindler said. “Put a statue of Reagan on one side and Trump on the other,” Beverly Emerson suggested. Some comments were more measured. “Ignore it as it will be in a yard behind a building,” Nikki Darling posted, adding, “It could easily cause oblivious people to research the story” and “It’s not a statue that tells them. pays homage like a sculpture of George Floyd. It’s satirical.

[email protected] | Twitter: @DeborahMartinFR

Editor Jim Kiest contributed to this report.

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