Government-run censorship certainly isn’t anything new in China.. Some, such as Google, would rather pull their investments out of the country than work around it, easy for them. For others, such as artists and brothers Gao Zhen and Gao Qiang, leaving their homeland isn’t so easy; after all, that’s where the fight is.
In the world of China’s underground art shows, gallery addresses are made public only hours before a show’s opening, and only via word of mouth and coded text messages. The Chinese government is quick to shut down an art event if the content isn’t in tune with the current political agenda, as the Gao Brothers discovered firsthand in 2007. A solution to the oppression of free speech? How about a headless Mao? Cast in bronze and life-size, the Gao brother’s latest, and probably last, depiction of the Great Leader features a detachable head to be kept off-site. Convenient, portable, and easily removable, three prerequisites for two artists who’d rather not lose their own heads.