Andy Warhol's reproductions of the Chinese leader Mao Zedong comment upon the consolidation of power the original portraits represent. The above picture hangs in The Art Institute of Chicago and clearly shows how Warhol took the iconic image posted around China and added elements. The eye shadow, rouge, and lipstick in this version, as well as various color alterations throughout the series, subvert the intentions of the original portrait to be an ubiquitous and unchanged representation of communist rule. Mao, and in particular the iconic image of the Chinese leader, became the unquestioned symbol of communism, and still are. The repetition of the original in its exact form unifies the image of power, and subsequently the political discourse, by creating a spectacle of the communist leader. Warhol's reproductions parody the original by making a spectacle of his own, shifting elements that point out the construction of the original spectacle while maintaining the essence of the original, the portrait of Mao. The subtle shift posits a new idea about communism functioning as a spectacle in the same way capitalism does. It connects a totalitarian idea to an image, one that needs to be confronted and questioned.
Don DeLillo builds upon this idea in his novel, Mao II. The image of Mao returns again and again alongside those of crowds and followers, people under the sway of the spectacle. I suggest that DeLillo's questioning of the spectacle amounts to another Mao in Warhol's line ... Mao too. Thus, the book attempts in a way to become just another in a line of reproductions that each question the original and add another turn on the totalitarianism of the image in the contemporary world.