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New Enemy of N. Korea
N. Korea & Kim Jong-Un Get a New Enemy with "The Leader Is Present" by Max Papeshi in U.S.
Max Papeshi, Kim Jong-Un North Park, McLoughlin Gallery, SF, CA

"Our republic is a responsible nuclear state that , as we made clear before, will not use nuclear weapons first unless aggressive hostile forces use nuclear weapons to invade on our sovereignty.” — Kim Jong-Un, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA, Sept.18, 2017, — The renown San Francisco-based McLoughlin Gallery is pleased to present "The Leader Is Present," the landmark solo exhibition featuring the groundbreaking Max Papeschi Works on view September 15 – October 14, 2017. "The Leader Is Present," is the first solo exhibition from Italian artist Max Papeschi in the U.S, focusing on North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un as would be interpreted by world famous contemporary artists including Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, and Banksy, among others. In the style of the infamous feature film "The Interview," starring James Franco, The North Korean leader is at center stage in these daring art works, satirically 'honoring' the 'Dear Leader' through the art pieces.

The exhibition is part of the "Welcome to North Korea Project," created with the support of Amnesty International Italy; promoting awareness and condemnation of the crimes against humanity by the North Korean regime. Fighting censorship, the artist helps to both inform and remind us of these crucial issues of human rights, while incorporating the spirit of play in to the body of the work. With "Welcome to North Korea," Papeschi, in his self-fabricated role as 'Cultural Ambassador of North Korea' as awarded by the 'Dear Leader,' builds the narrative story of a contemporary dictatorship through a visual contradiction. The detention facilities become absurdist amusement parks, and the public is taken in to a parallel dimension, where the atrocities of Pyongyang’s regime are hidden by the grotesque propaganda found at

With his expressive and irreverent style, Papeschi discredits the 'cult of personality,' taking it to the extreme with Kim Jong-Un appearing in pretty shades of bright eye shadow and lipstick, in a Warholesque quadriptych; the ultimate 'pop' icon. In Papeschi's further works, between the cut of a Fontana painting or in a face-off with controversial performance artist Marina Abramovic, Kim Jong-Un is even reflected as the aspiring child Mouseketeer; a Disney-loving tyrant of contradictions. The propaganda of the regime is further spoofed through the language of contemporary art divinizing the 'Dear Leader,' serving as commentary on the idiocy of bluster and war-mongering propaganda funneled through the DPRK. Included in the compelling exhibition are board games, videos of South Park, Teletubbies with a North Korean twist, an 80's video game, and even Kim Pong, which invites viewers to play against Kim Jong with the inability to ever win against the 'Supreme Leader.'

Despite Kim Jong-Un's reported statement that he would not launch a first attack, and would only attack back if attacked first, the dictator has recently however threatened Japan, The U.S. mainland, South Korea, and U.S. territory Guam with total destruction. While North Korea reportedly states their actions are merely reacting in self defense to the annual military tests by South Korea and the U.S, reportedly simulating an attack on North Korea—which greatly upsets the DPRK, the DPRK has recently fired two missiles over Japanese airspace, causing the world, and particularly the people of Japan—great worry.

It is in view of these unsettling world events, in addition to the widely known human rights violations by North Korea, whereby citizens are reportedly woken up at 5 a.m. with a National Alarm Clock, and are reportedly murdered if found criticizing Jim Jong-Un — that the art show 'Welcome to North Korea' is so vitally important. Where religion is banned, specific haircuts are reportedly mandated by law, the government controls the reportedly only two television stations in the country for state brainwashing, and citizens' entire family are punished 'three generations back' for the alleged crime on one person, North Korean Government is a assault against reason, and against humanity. Kim Jong-Un reportedly even had his own uncle; Jang Song-Thaek, and his entire blood family — including women and children — murdered in 2013. And he reportedly had his own half-brother; Kim Jong-Nam, poisoned to death earlier this year.

Whereas Sony Studios was famously hacked by North Korea for releasing "The Interview" film which mocked Kim Jong-Un and dealt with his assassination, 'Welcome to North Korea' similarly uses 'art as a weapon,' as the political enemy of a despotic regime. Reaching the world with the love of freedom, and the strength of individual liberty, Max Papeschi and McLoughlin Gallery bravely stand up against the face of such tyranny.

The inaugural launch of the exhibition occurred in September 2016 in Turin, Italy; and later Milan, Italy, with the Fondazione Maimeri. These highly successful shows were then followed by shows in Paris, with future exhibitions planned in Prague, Rome, Seville and Miami, after the stunning show here at McLoughlin Gallery in San Francisco, California.


The McLoughlin Gallery is a contemporary gallery serving as a site for exhibitions and public programs working with established international and local mid-career and emerging contemporary artists. The esteemed gallery represents and promotes artists working in a wide array of media including; painting, sculpture, photography, video and installation. Open from Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m, the McLoughlin Gallery is located at the 49 Geary Street, Suite 200, in San Francisco. For more information, call 415-986-4799 or visit

Max Papeschi
The Leader is Present
September 15th - October 14th, 2017

The McLoughlin Gallery
49 Geary, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94108
Tel: 415-986-4799

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