Andy Warhol Exhibit Opens In China, But His Chairman Mao Portraits Are Forbidden

Andy Warhol
The Power Station of Art in Shanghai has opened a new exhibition by Andy Warhol, but the famous pop artist’s portraits of Chairman Mao have been left out of the picture.

Agence France-Presse reports that the Andy Warhol Museum, which created the traveling exhibition, was told by the Chinese government that images of Mao would not be needed. Warhol painted many pictures of the Chinese revolutionary leader, such as this one hanging in Berlin shown here courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

As everyone knows, China has been reinventing itself as a capitalist superpower while still maintaining its Communist leadership. Images of Chairman Mao have been steadily disappearing from public display because the new China doesn’t jive with his idea of a peasant revolutionary Communist state. Bringing up memories of his Cultural Revolution, which saw countless works of art destroyed, also doesn’t sit well with Shanghai’s new image as a center for the arts.

The traveling exhibition, titled “Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal,” has already been to Singapore and Hong Kong and will run in Shanghai until July 28, at which point it will continue on to Beijing and Tokyo.

Fried Chicken In Ulan Bator: KFC To Open In Mongolia

Would you like home-style biscuits or mashed potatoes to go with your yurt?

No country is out of reach for global food brands these days, and this week it’s Mongolia. In partnership with Ulan Bator-based Tavan Bogd Group, Yum! Brands is opening up four KFC outlets in Mongolia this year.

A country known for its nomads and ger yurts, it’s the most sparsely populated country in the world. But it’s also growing: the Mongolian economy is expected to expand 15.7% this year, the fastest pace in Asia.

That means it’s prime real estate for a large restaurant chain looking to expand. But how do you go about introducing fried chicken into a place that’s usually known for mutton and goat?

“We are conducting a market survey together with a global research company to determine the market potential and identify eating habits of Mongolians, which will outline our development road map,” said Ts. Baatarsaikhan, chief executive officer of Tavan Bogd Group.

Which begs the question: do Mongolians prefer original or extra crispy?

[Photo credit: pshegubj]

Let’s Bring Capitalism To America’s Beaches

cape cod beachAmerica is a paradise for consumers. We can satisfy just about any consumer desire that strikes our fancy, even if it’s 3 a.m. on a holiday weekend. The one big exception to this rule is on our beaches, where most of the time we’re forced to lug coolers, chairs, umbrellas, beach toys and anything else we’ll need. There are some exceptions to this rule, but at many beaches around the country municipal restrictions prohibit entrepreneurs from renting chairs and umbrellas on the beach or selling food or drinks.

This point was driven home for us on a recent visit to the Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS) in Massachusetts. The CCNS is a glorious 40-mile stretch of sand that encompasses six beaches. We were there in late August – peak season – and had to park about a mile away from the entrance to Marconi Beach. I pulled up to drop off our gear – we had no chairs or umbrellas – so it wasn’t that much effort to carry our cooler and my children’s beach toys.

But other people, particularly seniors, who were schlepping all kinds of stuff looked like they were ready to pass out from the exertion of hauling their gear in the heat. There are no chairs or umbrellas for rent at this beach and I didn’t see any food or drink for sale. The result of this dynamic is that 90 percent of beachgoers cluster right at the bottom of the stairs leading down from the parking lot.

Right at the bottom of the stairs the beach was absolutely jam packed with people so close that their towels practically touched. I know that some like to people watch and be where the action is, but I was happy to keep walking for about ten minutes to reach a spot where we had the place all to ourselves. The video that accompanies this post illustrates the crazy dynamic of this beach – it’s enormous but 90 percent of it is empty because people don’t want to haul their gear very far.

beach cafe with pretty girlThe weird dynamic at this and many other American beaches is in stark contrast to the way beaches are set up in many other parts of the world. We spent several weeks in the Greek islands earlier this year, and there, all of the most popular beaches have either chairs and umbrellas for rent at a reasonable price or cafes and tavernas with the same – right on the beach.

I’m usually the last person to argue for public spaces to be given over to commercialization. In fact, I get really sick of how we’re constantly bombarded with advertising and sales pitches here, even when we’re going to the bathroom in some cases. But I have to admit: I love having the option of renting a lounge chair and umbrella at a beach. And if there is reasonably priced food and drink available – even better.

If you’re visiting a beach close to your home, bringing your own gear is less of a pain, but when you visit a beach on vacation, bringing your own chairs, umbrellas and cooler isn’t very practical.

In late May, we were at a beach bar near Lecce, in Italy, where the lounge chairs and thatched roof shelters were free if you ordered a meal. In Italy, you can always eat well and I had a linguini with clam sauce dish that was out of this world for 7€, right from the comfort of my beach chair. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven, but couldn’t help but wish we had the same sort of beach café culture here in the U.S.

That said, I do like my peace and quiet at the beach, so I am not enamored of countries that allow roving vendors to aggressively hawk their wares on the beach. And beach bars that play music so loud that you can’t hear the waves are a plague. No, I don’t want to turn our beaches into shopping malls or discos, I just want to have the option of not hauling chairs, umbrellas, and coolers. With our economy still a mess, municipalities around the country should be thinking about how to create opportunities for entrepreneurs that want to fill this void.

Photo Of The Day: Coca Cola Everywhere

Like the golden arches, the green-backed mermaid and the swooping “Just Do It” check, the red and white Coca Cola logo is that ubiquitous symbol of American capitalism that’s near impossible to escape abroad. Flickr user Kurt Schmidt captured today’s Photo of the Day on the Cvjetni Trg in Zagreb, Croatia, achieving the vintage effect with the help of Instagram. He must have read our recent editorial about whether the mobile editing application is bastardizing travel photography, because he apologized for using the filter: “just liked it!” he wrote in the description. But in this photo of such a classic icon, it works.

Have you encountered symbols from home in the places you least expected? Upload your travel shots to the Gadling Flickr Pool and your image could be selected as our Photo of the Day.

Venezuela’s government-run supermarkets offering “just” prices

You know you’ve arrived in Venezuela when you can’t even walk down the grocery store aisle without seeing a sign decrying the excesses of capitalism.

I’ll admit I had no idea there existed a “just price” for a liter of vegetable oil, but as you can see, it is clearly written in permanent marker right there on the advertisement. You can’t argue with that. Turns out it’s 4.73 Bolívares Fuertes, or a little over one US dollar. For that price, I’ll suppress my capitalist instincts and enjoy the 32% savings!

This photo was taken at the Mercado Bicentenario, a government-owned grocery store located in Caracas, Venezuela.

[via Greg Mankiw]