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Real Fake Art: A Gallery of China's Copy Artists

China produces 70 percent of copies of famous masterpieces for export to North America and Europe. The fastest copy artists chug out 30 paintings a day. In his series Real Fake Art, photographer Michael Wolf took portraits of professional artisans next to the Lichtensteins, the Van Goghs and the many disproportionately giant Mona Lisas mass produced in this fascinating, multimillion industry, timeless classics and contemporary art blockbusters alike. A painter stands shyly by her Francis Bacon in an alley. A sharp looking gentleman holds a Gerhard Richter canvas copy, similar to his Sonic Youth Daydream Nation cover. As a series, the project explores the interplay between the Chinese tradition of artists copying master works to develop their skills and the capitalist structure that makes it lucrative. Check out some of our favorite individuals in our gallery.


Real Fake Art, Michael Wolf. Featuring a copy of Chuck Close’s Self-Portrait (2004-2005).

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  1. [...] all-purpose storage and are decorated with a varying amount of patriotic paraphernalia. Like his Real Fake Art project, photographer Michael Wolf’s series 100 X 100 is a compelling look at an individual [...]

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