In 1971, the year China opened its doors to the United States, Andy Warhol made a rare turn toward politics. The United States press was filled with stories about the new climate of friendliness in the communist regime and the plans for President Nixon's historic visit to China the following year. Mao Zedong, the leader of ruling Communist Party, was appealing to Warhol partly because Mao's face--displayed in public and private space all through the country--was one of the most recognizable faces in the world. What is most likely is that Warhol relished the fact that for most Americans, Mao's face symbolized an alien and threatening form of government, which he uncannily predicted would make his portrait more appealing to the capitalist West. Soon, Warhol was replicating Mao's plump countenance and seemingly benign mien on canvases, drawings, silkscreen prints and wallpaper. Unlike his other portraits, Mao exhibits a more painterly surface, with swirling colors of paint overlapping the black outlines.