Mai Dang Lao (McDonald's)
On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
In Mai Dang Lao (McDonald’s), a hamburger box, fries container, fork, and knife are cast in bronze and adorned with traditional Chinese motifs like the taotie mask, typically featured on ancient ritual bronze vessels used in worship of the ancestors. Here it is combined with the iconic logo of the fast-food giant, transforming the “Happy Meal” into a Shang-dynasty artifact. The Asian American artist Zhang Hongtu, a leader of the Political Pop movement in contemporary Chinese art, lives in Queens, New York, after emigrating from China in the 1980s. By creatively juxtaposing ancient China with contemporary America, and ritual art with consumer culture, Zhang whimsically critiques systems of power.
box of fries: 7 1/4 × 4 3/4 × 2 1/4 in. (18.4 × 12.1 × 5.7 cm)
hamburger box closed: 3 1/2 × 4 5/8 × 4 3/4 in. (8.9 × 11.7 × 12.1 cm)
fork: 1 × 3/4 × 6 3/16 in. (2.5 × 1.9 × 15.7 cm)
knife: 5/8 × 1/8 × 5 13/16 in. (1.6 × 0.3 × 14.8 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the artist
Fast-food containers and knife and fork, recreated in bronze with decorative elements in relief incorporating both the golden arches of McDonalds and the Taotie mask motif of ancient Chinese bronzes.
a: sandwich container
b: fries container
Zhang Hongtu (Chinese, born 1943). Mai Dang Lao (McDonald's), 2002. Cast Bronze, box of fries: 7 1/4 × 4 3/4 × 2 1/4 in. (18.4 × 12.1 × 5.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the artist, 2014.82a-d. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2014.82a-d_PS9.jpg)
overall, 2014.82a-d_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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© Hongtu Zhang
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