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Life Arts

An American Photographer in Hong Kong, Part 1: The Real Fake Art Series

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As a photographer, Michael Wolf has come to believe his camera can capture a culture.  An American, Wolf has been living in China since 1994, and Chinese culture is what he’s been photographing and documenting at his website for the last fifteen years.  He describes what he’s been doing as exploring “the complex cultural identity of China, in a wide array of interrelated photographic projects…” 

This is the first part of a multi-part sequence of articles showing Wolf’s camera work, each of which will consist of representative photographs from one of Wolf’s series in Hong Kong, found on the internet at artnet’s Artist Works Catalogues.  Part 1 presents photographs from Wolf’s “Real Fake Art Series.”  Artist Works Catalogue’s introduction to its collection of 22 of these photographs reads:

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Copy art is a multimillion industry in China, which produces 70 percent of the copies of famous masterpieces and exports 80 percent of them to North America and Europe (a mere 20 percent remain in China).  In his "Real Fake Art" series, Michael Wolf portrays the faces behind the recent explosion of this industry in China, uncovering the odd and subtle interplay between capitalism and the Chinese tradition of developing artistic skill by copying the works of master artists.  His series explores the effects of mass production (the fastest workers can produce 30 paintings a day) with photographs of the artist or "entrepreneur" in the market environment.  Each image conveys the fabric of our new global economy, which democratizes art and enables each and every one of us to own a Hopper.”

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[[RFA192005]]

Real Fake Art #19, Mona Lisa, $95.00 (without frame) (2005)

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And

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[[RFA132005]]

Real Fake Art #13, Van Gogh, $7.00 (2005)

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And

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[[RFA352006]]

Real Fake Art #35, Magritte, $19.50 (2006)

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And

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[[RFA82005]]

Real Fake Art #8, Leda and the Swan, $92.50 (2005)

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And

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[[RFA392006]]

Real Fake Art #39, Edward Hopper, $35.00 (2006)

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And

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[[RFA12006]]

Real Fake Art #1, Roy Lichtenstein, $30.00 (2006)

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And

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[[RFA112006]]

Real Fake Art #11, Ed Rusha, $7.00 (2006)

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And

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[[RFA162006]]

Real Fake Art #16, Gerhard Richter, $30.00 (2006)

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And

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[[RFA812007]]

Real Fake Art #81, John Wayne, $345.00 (2007)

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Michael Wolf’s Biography follows: 

“1954: Born in Munich, Germany. 

1955: Immigrates to the United States. 

1955-61: Atlanta, Georga. 

1961-1971: Berkeley, California. 

Takes photography classes the California College of Arts and Crafts with Professor Penny Dhaemer. 

1971-1972: Attends North Toronto Collegiate Instutute, Toronto, Canada. 

1972-1973: Undergraduate studies at University of California, Berkeley. 

1973-1976:  Attends the Folkwang School / University of Essen, Germany.  Studies with Otto Steinhert. 

1977: Graduates from Folkwang School / University of Essen (Germany), with degree in Visual Communication. 

1977-1994:  Freelance photographer in Germany. 

1995:  Moves to Hong Kong. 

1995-2003: Accredited photographer in China for…Stern Magazine. 

2003: Begins work in Hong Kong on Architecture of Density and Back Door Series. 

2005: Begins Copy Artists series; World Press Photography Award – highest honors in Stories Category, Contemporary Issues. 

2006: Begins 100 X 100 series; Installation – The Real Toy Story, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago.”

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(All words in quotation marks and images are courtesy of artnet and its Artist Works Catalogues.  At its AWC, there is this: “artnet offers these catalogues free to the public as an educational resource. Simply click on an individual artist's image to begin, and check back often to browse new catalogues.”)  

 

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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)
 

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