New Jersey, 1979–80, From the series Chinese Paintings
Oil on canvas, 35 ½ x 39 in. (90 x 99 cm)
Reykjavik Art Museum, Erró Collection
In his Chinese Paintings series of 1974–79, Erró effects a Surrealist marriage of American postcard backdrops and Socialist Realism—an idealized, propagandistic mode promulgated by the Communist Chinese and Soviet governments. Despite their obvious ideological differences, the two styles share a slick, hyper-realistic, commercial finish. The series not only suggests equivalencies in the United States and China’s self-representations, it also serves to memorialize Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 and Mao’s death four years later.